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Things to do in Coimbra

    Porto Cathedral Porto Cathedral Coimbra, Portugal
    The Porto Cathedral is one of the city's oldest monuments and one of the most significant monuments in the country of Portugal, sitting in the heart of Porto that was started in the 11th century and finished in the 13th. Evidence has been discovered that showed the cathedral has been the site of a bishopric seat since the Suevi domination during the 5th and 6th centuries. The church is flanked by two square towers, with both of them supported by two buttresses and crowned with a cupola, with a simple facade, void of decoration and architecturally heterogeneous. The front has a baroque porch and a magnificent Romanesque rose window below the crenellated arch, which provides the scene with a fortified look. The Romanesque nave is considered narrow and covered by a barrel vaulted ceiling, flanked by two aisles with a shorter vault and a stone roof over the center aisle that is supported by flying buttresses, which is why this is one of the first churches in the country that used this architectonic feature. Although the church has had many alterations, the general appearance is still Romanesque, with a gothic funerary added in the 14th century and a wonderful cloister constructed between the 14th and 15th centuries. It was here that King John I married the English princess, Philippa of Lancaster in the cathedral in 1387. In the baroque period, many changes would be made, with a new portal replacing the old Romanesque original and the tower's cupola's were changed as well. In 1732, the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni would add a marvelous baroque loggia to the lateral facade of the church, and during the War of the Oranges, a number of troops would occupy the church until they were overcome by the townspeople. At that time, a magnetite backing would be added so that anyone traveling near it would have trouble with their compass points, and the interior would be changed as well. In one of the chapels, a beautiful silver altarpiece sits, created in the latter half of the 17th century by Portuguese artists, and during that period as well, a Romanesque apse and ambulatory would be replace with a newer one in the baroque style, eventually decorated with paintings on the wall by Nasoni and choir stalls added.

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Local Restaurants in Coimbra

    Restaurante Jardim da Manga
    Entrees; carapua grilled with Spanish rice; sardines with peppers; poultry fried with rice; grilled bacalhu, sausage mirandela, beef steak.

    Coimbra Portuguese Restaurant
    Entrees; Portuguese flat baby chicken, grilled in Mozambique tradition with butter & house secret peri-peri sauce; cut cubes with salt, garlic & bay leaves, skewered & grilled over open flame with melting butter; porterhouse steak, grilled & soaked in red wine sauce & topped in the Portuguese tradition with bacon & egg; lean rump steak soaked in red wine sauce, grilled & topped with shelled prawns smothered in mushroom sauce grilled over cheese; black pepper filet; three lamb chops grilled in light garlic sauce; bacalhau stripped off the bone & pan fried in oil, onions, garlic & potato strips served with Portuguese salad; bacalhau grilled in garlic & olive oil served with boiled potato, seared green beans & salad; grilled calamari rings flavored lightly with garlic butter sauce; grilled sole dipped in light batter and grilled in garlic butter sauce.

Poultry Fried with Rice Restaurante Jardim da Manga Coimbra, Portugal


Grilled Sole Coimbra Portuguese Restaurant Coimbra, Portugal

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    Old Cathedral of Coimbra Old Cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal
    Another very important cathedral in Portugal is the Old Cathedral of Coimbra that has become one of the most significant Romanesque Roman Catholic churches in the country, that was started in the 12th century, when Count Afonso Henriques would declare himself to be the king of Portugal and pick Coimbra to be his capital. The first count of Coimbra, the mozarab Sisnando Davides is buried in the crypt of the church, along with others. Coimbra, which had been the Roman Aemium had been the seat of the bishopric since the 5th century, after the neighboring region of Conimbriga had been invaded and partly destroyed by the invading Sueves in 468 AD. Aeminium had been the ancient name of the city of Coimbra, with its ruins dating back to the Roman domination and some distance from Conimbriga that the Seuves had conquered and taken control of; these ruins are some of the most significant and well-preserved Roman ruins that can be found anywhere in the old Roman world. This cathedral is the last Portuguese Romanesque cathedrals from the Reconquista period that has managed to survive fairly intact, with the other cathedrals in the country being remodeled or changed sometime later. The old church looks more like a small fortress on the outside, with high crenellated walls that contain few, but narrow windows, and actually depicts the difficult period that it was constructed in. The cathedral has a tower like structure in the center of the western facade that contains a portal and window above, that are both very decorated with Romanesque motifs of the Arab and Pre-Romanesque influences. The facade has been reinforced with large heavy buttresses at their corners that help compensate for the angle of the land that the church was constructed on; which was the slope of a hill. During the turn of the 15th century into the 16th, bishop Jorge de Almeida would begin a large decorative project, with the columns and walls of the aisles covered with tiles from Seville, that contain multi-colored geometric motifs that remind people of Arabic art. Another addition is the enormous wooden retable of the main chapel that had been carved between the years 1498 and 1502 by Flemish artists Jean d'Ypres and Olivier de Grand; with a marvelous gothic style that showcases the history of Mary and Christ that takes up the entire space of the chapel. It is considered to be the finest of its kind in the nation, and the altar is supported by an altar table that had been created in the Romanesque style.

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 Estacao De Caminhos De Ferro

    Igreja e Mosteiro da Santa CruzCoimbra Monastery Coimbra, Portugal
    The monastery of Santa Cruz is a national monument in the city of Coimbra, Portugal, and granted the status of National Pantheon because of the two first kings of Portugal being buried there. The church would begin construction in 1131, outside the walls of the city, and would become the most significant monastic church in the early period of the Portuguese monarchy. It would be St. Theotonius that founded the church and would become their first prior, with both the church and monastery being completed sometime between 1132 and 1223. This monastery would be given many papal privileges and royal grants, that would allow them to gain much wealth and become the pillar of cultural and politico-institutional significance. It contained a wonderful school and excellent library that would make it be highly respected during the Middle Ages and became a meeting house for the power and intellectual elite. Today, there isn't anything that shows it was an early Romanesque monastery, since it would be entirely remodeled during the first half of the 16th century by king Manuel. The entire complex would be remodeled and transferred to the main chapel in 1530, that had the remains of King Afonso Henriques and his successor, King Sancho I, and they still lay there today, in a fabulous sculptural work that was created by Nicolau Chanterene. Diogo Boitac would be the architect for the layout of the Manueline church, and the Chapterhouse, that contained basket-handled and ribbed ceilings. During the entire 16th century, the church would have the best sculptors, painters and architects working on it, like Jean of Rouen, Vasco Fernandez, Diogo de Castillho, Machim Rouen and Cristovao de Figueriredo, along with the other artisans already mentioned.

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    Quinta das Lagrimas Quinta das Lagrimas Coimbra, Portugal
    The Quinta da Lagrimas is the estate of the de Castro family, located in Coimbra, Portugal, that would be made into a Building of Public Interest by the IPPAR in 1977, sitting on almost thirty acres of gardens with a beautiful palace that has since been converted into a luxury hotel. Its origin is not known, except it had been a hunting lodge for the Portuguese royal family, then would become the property of the University of Coimbra, and later, a religious order had been established there. The de Castro family would acquire it in 1730, and the palace would be constructed, until a fire destroyed a big part of it in 1879. It would be rebuilt by Miguel Osorio Cabral de Castro in the latter part of the 19th century, in a different style. The palace contains a central body and two lateral wings, that showcase a balcony with railing of square columns sitting on the facade. On the right side is the chapel and the Fountain of Tears, or Fonte das Lagrimas, according to the local legend would be from the tears of Ines de Castro when she was killed, and sits close by the spring that had been discovered by Antonio de Vasconcelos and contains a broken arch that is believed to have been constructed during the 14th century.

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- Estadio Cidada De Coimbra

August 3, 2011