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Coimbra was occupied by the Moors and the city was captured by the Christians in 1064, becoming the capital of the country under the first Portuguese dynasty. The capital was transferred to Lisbon in the 13th century. Coimbra was the birthplace of 6 kings and it also has one of Europe’s oldest university towns and it has kept its secular academic traditions, the black-caped students. The “ Queima das Fitas” (Burning of the Ribbons) is a huge celebration of the students graduating year. Coimbra University was founded in 1307 by King Dinis. Its library is widely considered to have the most beautiful interior in Portugal, and one of the richest book collections in the world.


Coimbra is full of monuments which have to be seen; The ancient Cathedral built in the 12-century is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Portugal. The Machado de Castro Museum, where you can find an interesting collection of paintings, sculptures and religious objects. The museum was actually built over a Roman cryptoportico.


In between these ancient streets and alley ways, with their medieval walls, arches and stairways, you can find the Santa Cruz Monastery (founded in 1131) is a rich example of the city's own early 16th century school of sculpture. The church of Santiago and the Monastery of Celas (13th-century). On the other side of the Mondego river stands the gothic ruins of the old convent Santa Clara (17th-century).


The district of Coimbra is composed by 17 municipalities:

  • Arganil

  • Cantanhede

  • Coimbra

  • Condeixa-a-Nova

  • Figueira da Foz

  • Góis

  • Lousã

  • Mira

  • Miranda do Corva

  • Montemor-o-Velho

  • Oliveira do Hospital

  • Pamplhosa da Serra

  • Penacova

  • Penela

  • Soure

  • Tábua

  • Vila Nova de Poiares