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Coimbra is a city and municipality in Portugal. It served as the country's capital during the First Dynasty (12th Century) and remains home to the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world and one of the oldest in Europe.
The historic city of Coimbra is located in central Portugal, 120 km south of Porto, 195 km north of Lisbon. One of Portugal's biggest crossroads, Coimbra is served by the A1, the main highway of Portugal. It 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 on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Just outside the municipality, there are also several picturesque mountain towns such as Lousã and Penacova and spa towns and villages such as Luso, Buçaco and Curia.
The University of Coimbra, founded as Studium Generale in Lisbon in 1290 by King Dinis I and relocated several times to Coimbra, was definitively transferred to the premises of Coimbra Royal Palace in 1537 by King John III. Since then, the city life has revolved around the state-run university, and for many decades, several colleges (colégios) created to provide an alternative to the official form of teaching and established by the religious orders in the city, which were later gradually discontinued through the times with the secularization of teaching in Portugal. Built in the 18th century, the Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina), a Baroque library, is other notable landmark of the ancient university. The Baroque University Tower (Torre da Universidade), from the school of the German architect Ludovice and built between 1728 and 1733, is the city's «ex-libris».
This visit was part of a tour to Coimbra and Aveiro with a couple from Brasil.