Friday, April 21, 2017

Coimbra - Not very happening

Coimbra is a university town; home to the most prestigious university in Portugal. The university, sitting at the top of the hill, seems to overshadow the town. Maybe classes were just getting back in session after the Easter break, but the most happening place was the botanical garden. Coimbra was not nearly as lively as I expected of a university town.

I am also ready to declare that Portugal is the only other developed country besides the USA that suffers urban flight (there is a good amount gentrification). I am grappling for reasons. Portugal certainly is not the least developed country we have been in Europe; Portugal's birth rate cannot be that different from the European average; emigration is not among the highest either....The other common theme of all cities we have visited is that every single one of them is built in serious hill(s), as in stairs and switchbacks. Could the two be related?

I did enjoy seeing the Roman ruins at Conimbriga. I have to confess that I did not start out nearly as big a fan of archaeology sites as John. The more we visit, more I am interested. In Coimbra, he Roman crypto-pĆ³rtico at the Machado de Castro Museum I have now seen, but still could not believe.

Coimbra - on the river with the University on top of the hill.
Coimbra, Portugal

Not much happening on the main drag.
Coimbra, Portugal

At Santa Cruz, one could make a small donation and then wander around behind the altar and into the sacristy and chapels, so we did.
Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

We rode the funicular up to the University.
Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

The old gate to the old part of the University.
Coimbra, Portugal

Not much was happening at the University except for soon-to-be-graduates tossing their capes for photos.
School's Out - Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

The Old Cathedral is impressive.
The Old Cathedral of Coimbra - Coimbra, Portugal

Day Two we rode the bus out to the Roman Ruins at Conimbriga; about 15 kms from Coimbra. Impressive ruins and a very good job IMO reconstructing the Palaestra (Wrestling School) and Forum. This first pic is ruins of a house.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

The cold water pool at the Palaestra. Resembles a modern day swimming pool, no?
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

The Palaestra was on a ravine - great setting.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Palaestra - Conimbriga, Portugal

The partially reconstructed forum sits on top of pre-Roman ruins which can be seen underneath.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

This is not a Roman Theater. The seats are purely contemporary. It is the waterworks at the terminus of the aqueduct.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

More peristyle buildings.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

And finally the very impressive so-called House of the Fountain.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

The garden, edged with a line of small water jets, was restored in 1991.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Conimbriga, Portugal

Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

The site museum is included in the admission and is worth a visit since all the artifacts from the site are there.
Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

Conimbriga  Roman Ruins - near Coimbra, Portugalo

The National Museum Machado de Castro in Coimbra is located in the former Bishop's Palace which was built on top of the ancient Roman Forum. It's an amazing place. Built on the side of the hill, the lower two floors are the almost intact lower corridors of the Roman Forum - the Crypto-Portico. The other 3 or 4 floors are the Art Museum with 2 floors of sculpture that will NOT put you to sleep or make your head spin.

Roman Forum of Aeminium - Museu Nacional Machado de Castro - Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra was known for its sculpture.
Museu Nacional Machado de Castro - Coimbra, Portugal

Museu Nacional Machado de Castro - Coimbra, Portugal

O Cristo Negro - Museu Nacional Machado de Castro - Coimbra, Portugal

Museu Nacional Machado de Castro - Coimbra, Portugal

Terracotta Last Supper.
Last Supper - Museu Nacional Machado de Castro - Coimbra, Portugal

Near our apartment.
Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

We discovered lupins in Coimbra; yellow beans/peas that are similar to soybeans and taste great with a cold beer.
Coimbra, Portugal

Some night shots. The main drag shuts down early.
Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Day Three: We had an afternoon bus, so in the morning we visited the Botany Department and the Botanic Gardens (located next to Coimbra's aqueduct) where students were again throwing their capes.
Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal

And lastly, the volunteer fire department building.
Firehouse - Coimbra, Portugal








2 comments:

Crash Eddy said...

No limit to what you two find. Admittedly, Portugal is not on my visitation radar but you sure have uncovered many lovely features.

Sun-Ling said...

A tourist office happened to mention to us that they think there are a lot of tourists in Portugal because people are going to France. We also had a German couple tell that they were in Spain because Turkey is not safe. Interesting how losers and winners are created.