Coimbra University

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University of Coimbra
Universidade de Coimbra
founding 1290
Sponsorship state
place Coimbra , Portugal
Rector Amílcar Falcão
Students 22,000 (2005)
Employee 1,800 (2005)
Networks Coimbra group
University of Coimbra - Alta and Sofia
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Historic building of the University of Coimbra
National territory: PortugalPortugal Portugal
Type: Culture
Criteria : ii, iv, vi
Surface: 36 ha
Reference No .: 1387
UNESCO region : Europe and North America
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 2013  (session 37)

The University of Coimbra ( Portuguese Universidade de Coimbra ; Latin Universitas Conimbrigensis ) is a research university in the Portuguese city ​​of Coimbra . It is the oldest university in the country and one of the oldest in Europe .

The University of Coimbra is the name giver for the so-called Coimbra group of European research universities.


It was founded in 1290 by the Portuguese King Dionysius (Dom Dinis).

At the beginning of its history, the university moved several times between Coimbra and Lisbon , until it was opened by King John III in 1537 . was finally settled in Coimbra. For centuries the university was the center of science in Portugal, and lavishly decorated buildings such as the university church and library bear witness to the wealth of the former Portuguese colonial empire .

To this day, the university has largely determined the image and life of the city. A specialty are the student housing communities of the Repúblicas , which have been granted special rights since the early 14th century and have ensured a lively student life ever since. In this environment, the song form of Fado de Coimbra , a student, strict variant of Fado, came into being .

In 1728 the extensive and richly decorated university library Biblioteca Joanina was completed. Today it is considered one of the most spectacular libraries in the world.

The university's botanical garden (Jardim botanico da Universidade de Coimbra) in the Beja Litoral was founded in 1772 by the Count of Pombal as a teaching garden for budding doctors and is the oldest botanical garden in Portugal. It has a rich collection of plants, in addition to tropical plants and Australian species, South African and Californian species were also recorded in the 19th century.

On June 22, 2013, the university buildings in the Alta de Coimbra district and in Rua da Sofia were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List .


Philosophical Faculty
Faculty of Law
The traditional student festival Queima das Fitas (2006)

The University of Coimbra today has around 22,000 students and consists of eight faculties:

Each faculty is assigned a color, which is reflected, among other things, in the ribbons worn by the students. These are burned at the end of the course at the traditional Queima das Fitas student festival (literally: burning the ribbons ). The color of the university is dark green, the colors of the faculties are as follows:

  • Philosophical faculty: blue
  • Law Faculty: red
  • Medical School: yellow
  • Technical faculty: light blue and white
  • Pharmaceutical Faculty: purple
  • Faculty of Economics: red and white
  • Faculty of Psychology and Education: orange
  • Sports science faculty: brown

Well-known teachers and students (selection)

Antonio Ferreira
Luís de Camoes
Xanana Gusmão
Sebastião José de Carvalho e Mello, the Marquis of Pombal (port: Marquês de Pombal )
Aristides de Sousa Mendes


Humanities scientist





Legal scholar



The university is located on the site of a former Roman fort that secured the passage over the Mondego River . The Moorish Alcazar and the castle of the Duke of Portucale , which were converted into the castle of the King of Portugal, were also located here. In 1772 the Marquis de Pombal had the fortifications removed. At the time of the fascist Estado Novo in the 1940s, a number of buildings were erected in the monumental style of the time, for which numerous Renaissance and Baroque buildings were demolished. For Coimbra's University, which is at the heart of Portuguese culture, these buildings seem particularly unsuitable.

You enter the grounds of the old university from Praça da Porta Ferrera through the Iron Gate from 1633. The various faculties are represented here by allegorical statues , medicine and law on the outside, theology and church teaching on the inside. Above the passage the kings Diniz and João III. and in the blasted gable the allegory of wisdom.

On the north side of the square, an elegant flight of steps leads to the arcades of the so-called Via Latina, which was added to the palace in the 18th century. The auditorium was originally the ballroom of the palace; it was recreated in the 16th century and redesigned under João V in the 18th century. The large clock tower at the end of the portico in the north-west corner of the square, also from the 18th century, is a fine example of the late Baroque Joanino style from the time of João V. It is at the highest point of the city and because it towers above all other buildings he became the symbol of Coimbra. Next to the tower is the entrance to a two-storey cloister with access to the lecture halls that are now used by the law faculty.

On the west side of the square is the university church, which combines different styles. It was built in the place of a medieval prayer room from 1517. The Manueline windows and the braided archway in front of the choir also date from this period. The wood-carved altar with column-framed paintings is one of the purest works of Portuguese Mannerism . Classic elements of the Renaissance were combined to form an aedicule . The altar was created in 1612/13 in collaboration with various Portuguese artists. The ceiling, painted with floral motifs, dates from the 17th century, the organ from 1733. The side portal of the church was built in the Manueline style in 1517-21. It shows two symbols that are frequently found in Portugal, namely the Christ Knight's Cross and the so-called armillary sphere as a symbol of Portugal's great affinity with seafaring .

The armory was integrated into the royal part of the old palace. It houses a number of Royal Academic Guard weapons that are still used in ceremonial academic ceremonies today.

The Sala dos Capelos was the old throne room, from the middle of the 17th century. This excellent space was planned by master António Tavares. The wooden ceiling with grotesque pictures by Jacinto da Costa, carpet-style tiles and the portraits of kings painted by various artists should be emphasized.

The private exam room was part of the royal part of the palace. It was the royal room where the king stayed. It was also the room where the first meeting took place on October 13, 1537 between the Vice-Rector D. Garcia de Almeida and the university professors.

See also

Web links

Commons : Coimbra University  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Governo da Universidade. Retrieved August 4, 2019 .
  2. ^ Helena Attlee, John Ferro Sims: The gardens of Portugal. Frances Lincoln, London 2008, ISBN 978-0-7112-2693-7 .
  3. ^ Universidade de Coimbra, Alta e Sofia são património mundial. Online in: RTP -Notícias, June 22, 2013, accessed December 21, 2018 (Portuguese).
  4. ^ A b c d Hans-Peter Burmeister: Portugal: Roman villas, Manueline monasteries and museums of the modern age between Lisbon and Porto, Minho and Algarve . DuMont-Buchverl, Cologne 2001, ISBN 3-7701-4416-3 .
  5. TCP / ARPT Centro de Portugal: Centro de Portugal. Retrieved January 26, 2019 .

Coordinates: 40 ° 12 '26.9 "  N , 8 ° 25' 33.9"  W.