King D. Dinis founded the University of Coimbra on March 1, 1290, exactly 730 years ago. Initially, the Coimbra University had four faculties: Theology, Canons, Laws and Medicine. Its location alternated between Lisbon and Coimbra, for 300 years, until it was definitely established in Coimbra in 1537, during the reign of D. João III, settling in the current Paço das Escolas in the year 1544.
Under directions of the visionary Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal (reign of D. João V), the Astronomical Observatory, Chemical Laboratory, the initial nucleus of the Botanical Garden, the Natural History Gallery, the Experimental Physics Office and the University were built. During the 20th century, the University spread a little throughout the city of Coimbra.
Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, it has several visitable spaces of great cultural, historical and scientific value:
JOANINA LIBRARY: The Joanina Library is the ultimate exponent of Portuguese Baroque and is considered one of the richest European libraries, containing around 60 thousand volumes from the 16th to the 18th centuries, which can still be consulted today. The library is inhabited by bats that protect books from insects.
PALÁCIO REAL: The building currently called the Royal Palace was built in the late 10th century and, in 1131, became the first Portuguese royal residence, inhabited by the 1st king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques.
CAPELA DE SÃO MIGUEL: The origins of the Royal Chapel of St. Michael date back to the 11th century, after the city was conquered by the Moors, in 1064. However, its current configuration dates from the 16th century, during the reign of D. Manuel I. Inside, the majestic Iberian organ , installed between 1733 and 1737, imposes itself, with about two thousand tubes.
ATOS GRANDES ROOM or Sala dos Capelos (Hall of Capelos): The former Throne Room of D. Afonso Henriques, with the installation of the University in Paço, became the main room of the University of Coimbra, as this is where the most important ceremonies of academic life are held.
Premiere Tours has a varied offer of sightseeing tours, both daily (round trip from Lisbon) and several days, where this important world-renowned university is included, as a place to visit.