Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Coimbra is a city and a district of Portugal.
Coimbra city is located in the central part of Portugal, 120 km south of Porto, 195 km north of Lisbon. One of Portuguese biggest crossroads, Coimbra is served by A1, the main highway of Portugal. The city is the main administrative centre of Central Portugal. Coimbra is set by the Mondego River, about 40 km East of Figueira da Foz, a neighbour coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities in the Atlantic Ocean coast.
The city of Coimbra has a population of 106,800 inhabitants in 12 parishes the municipality has 148,474 and 31 parishes, and 500,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area. It is the fourth largest city of Portugal and the capital city of the central part of the country. With a dense urban grid the city of Coimbra is also famous for its monuments, churches, libraries, numerous parks, gardens and nightlife.
The fame of the city, which was capital of Portugal during part of the XII and XIII Century, rests mostly on its University of Coimbra with about 23,000 students - a total of 32,000 with other higher education schools - but also in shopping, technology and medical industry, administrative offices, financial services and specialized medical care (see Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra). The university founded in 1290 is the seventh oldest in Europe (after Bologna, Oxford, Paris, Palencia, Salamanca, and Cambridge); it attracts students from around the world, which gives the city a special and rare atmosphere. Nowadays it has students from 70 different nationalities; almost 10% of its students are foreigners, being Portugal's most international university.
Coimbra is also known for the reduced child-scale buildings it has erected within one of its city parks. These buildings are scale copies of its own typical pieces of architecture and it was built in the fifties and sixties.
It has a large archeological site with extensive ruins dating from the time it was a Roman town called Aeminium. The cathedral of Sé Velha, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, is still in operation, and it is worth to visit all the old buildings from the university dating XV, XVI, XVII and XVIII century, the New Cathedral from the XVII century, the Monastery of Santa Cruz from the XII century with the tombs of the two first Portuguese kings, Afonso I and his son Sancho I, and the Machado de Castro Museum, the second most important one in Portugal, after Old Art National Museum in Lisbon. The city also houses the University General Library, Portuguese second biggest library, after National Library in Lisbon.
There is a wide variety of accommodation available, ranging from the camping-park or one of the many inexpensive hostels to the charming downtown hotels and international chain hotels.
Coimbra is also known for its students' festivals. Two are held every year.
The first one, Latada, occurs in the beginning of scholar year, and is a welcome to the new University students (Caloiros).
The second one, Queima das Fitas, more important than the first, takes place at the end of the second semester (usually in the begining of May) and it's probably the biggest student party in all Europe. It lasts for 8 days, each for each University Faculty, Letras (Humanities), Direito (Law), Medicina (Medicine), Ciências (Science), Farmácia (Pharmacy), Economia (Economics), Psicologia (Psychology) and Desporto (Sports).
Coimbra is home to Académica, a football autonomous organism of the Associação Académica de Coimbra, which plays in the Main Portuguese Football League at the Estádio Cidade de Coimbra, and also to Clube de Futebol União de Coimbra (a smaller sport club, but also important in the city).
Coimbra also has one of the largest sports association in Portugal: the University of Coimbra's students' union, Associação Académica de Coimbra, includes sections dedicated to a wide array of sports such as rugby, tennis, volleyball, among others.
- University of Coimbra
- Associação Académica de Coimbra
- Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra
- Queima das Fitas
- Fado de Coimbra
- Coimbra Group of universities
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