2016年9月27日 星期二

The ancient but alive University of Coimbra (古老而活躍的科英布拉大學)

After an exhausting first day, we really needed a good night rest and a good breakfast.

Nice hotel restaurant

Don't think that you can get "pineapple buns" only in Hong Kong !

Really like the looks of this puff

If you like, you can have your breakfast out here. But a bit chilly in the morning.

Nice and comfortable sofas on the terrace.

You always find the characteristic Portuguese blue and white tile as wall decoration everywhere you go.

Dining in the midst of water! But I don't fancy a "watery meal".

The lounge is full of flowers

Food and drinks everywhere in the country

The room corridor

The post box looks familiar?

Our rest stop.


A tri-lingual signboard

Our first tour spot for the day: Coimbra University (Universidade de Coimbra) established in 1290 with the approval of Pope Nicholas IV (cf. Oxford 1248, Cambridge 1209) for all faculties except that of theology. At first it offered only Arts, Law,Canon Law and Medicine. Coimbra U is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation since its commencement but at first it existed as Studium Generale (Estudo Geral).Scientiae thesaurus mirabilis in Lisbon . It moved to its present site, the palace  Alcaçova Palace only in 1537, where the present main library stands. In 2013, it became a World Heritage Site.
At present it has 8 faculties including Letters, Law, Medicine, Sciences & Technology, Pharmacy, Economics, Psychology & Education Sciences and Sports Sciences & Physical Education and grants academic bachelor's (licenciado), master's (mestre) and doctorate (doutor) degrees.Both the National Legal Medicine Institute, an organization under direct supervision of the Portuguese Ministry of Justice, which provides forensic science services to the police forces and government agencies of Portugal, and its teaching hospital, HUC (Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra), known as a centre of research with a broad range of clinical services and medical specialties, are managed by the Faculty of Medicine (FMUC).
It is a founding member of the Coimbra Group, a group of leading European research universities, whose inaugural meeting it hosted. The University of Coimbra has some  25,000 students, and hosts one of the largest communities of international students in Portugal, being the most cosmopolitan Portuguese  The  .
In the 18th century, the Marquis of Pombal, Minister of the kingdom, made radical reforms in the University, especially regarding the teaching of sciences, in accordance to his Enlightenment and anticlerical creed. 
During the period 1290 to 1559 it was the only university in Portugal. From 1559 to 1759, there was also one more: the University of Evora. But after 1759 it again became the only university in Portugal. It continued that status until 1911 when the University of Lisbon and University of Porto were created. Because of its special historical status, the university has always been influential the country, not only educationally but also politically and socially. To compete with the top-notch American universities in cutting edge innovations, it became in 2008/2009 a full member of the European Higher Education Area  with common course structures and standards with member universities in France, Germany, Italy and the UK.

The Porta Férrea, built in 1634 by the architect António Taveres. It's the entrance to the royal palace and the various faculties of the university

The Faculty of Arts

In front of the entrance is huge circle which portrays a mosaic of the official seal of the university.

Part of the main square of this ancient university. The buildings to the right is part of the university palace and to the left is the Capela  de St. Miguel (St. Michael's Chapel)

The statue of King Joao III who decided in 1357 to base the university permanently here. .

A front view of the palace.

The Joanina Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It now forms part of the university library, housing original texts printed before 1800.

The entrance to the Joanina Library, named after King Joao V.

The main door to the library could afford to stay open for not more than half a minute each time so as to prevent oxidation of the valuable original texts stored inside, accessible only by permission because all the books there were published before 1800.

No photos being allowed inside the library, I got this photo from the internet

At the centre of the nave is a portrait of King Joao V, who funded the building of this library.

Steps outside the old library down to College of St. António da Pedreira

The back of the statue on the portal to College of San António da Pedreira

The entrance to Capela de St. Miguel (St. Michael's chapel)

The altar of the Capela da San Miguel

The roof and upper gallery of the capela

The coat of arms of the king

very elaborately decorated statue of the Holy Mother with plenty of gold

I wonder why the altar is built with so many levels

Another statue of the Holy Mother with child Jesus

The very beautiful organ there

Again intricate mosaic tiles: the Arabic influence is evident

a lamp or a lectern?

A final look at the university square

This is the general main library, which is one of the two libraries of the university. 

students are concerned with observation and measurements

and mathematics

but they should be aware of the threat of death too

students in academic gowns soliciting for donations


The clock tower of the university

statues at the corridor to the former royal palace

This is the Sala dos Archeiros, part of the old Royal Palace for storing halberds of the Guada Real Academica. These halberds are still carried by the Yeoman Corps during official academic ceremonies.

The courtyard surrounded by classrooms for general studies,(os Gerais), law etc.

The Sala Beleza dos Santos (Room of saintly beauty)

The Sala de leitura (Reading Room)

Sala Marnoco e Sovsa

Sala Manuel de Andrade 

The crown of Queen Elizabeth, housed inside a room dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen consort of King Denis I

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth, a tertiary of the Franciscan Order and  known for championing the causes of the poor and the sick and for reconciling many important disputes between various members of royal families in Spain and Portugal ,was canonized as a saint in 1625. She was married to King Denis of Portugal and was herself the daughter of Peter III of Aragon and Constance of Hohenstauffer( daughter of Manfred, King of Sicily and of Beatrice of Savoy, who in turn was the granddaughter of King Frederick II of Germany) She is an example of the  the complicated matrimonial diplomacy practised by many European royalties. The paradigmatic example of that is Maria Theresa. 

Another painting Queen Elizabeth. She is always portrayed with some roses on her dress, which legend says appeared mysteriously upon her lap when asked by her husband King Denis what she was hiding inside her bulging apron, it was bread for distribution to the poor, done against the wishes of the King.  It's a poetic story similar to that told about her cousin, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Through the ages, the rose has come to symbolize in Christian mythology the passion of Christ and in Dante's Human Comedy, the God's love for man.  .  

The royal coat of arms

This is the Sala does Capelos, or Sala Grande dos Actos,originally meant to be the throne room of the Royal Palace. Its ceilings, decorated with garlands and grotesques, dates from the 17th century. The upper walls were later decorated with fabrics representing all the kings of Portugal. This room is now used in for the defense of doctoral theses and for the official granting of the academic doctorates, honorary doctorates and investiture of the rector and solemn opening of the academic year.

Details of the garlands and grotesques on the ceiling

One of the mutilated statues in the connecting room leading to the terrace on the first floor

A view of the main square of the university from the first floor of the Royal Palace

Various paintings on religious subjects.

Another room on the first floor of the palace

The walls of the corridors are decorated with blue and white floral patterned tiles

The Faculty of Law on the Ground Floor, the last room to be seen before we left.

The people of ancient town Coimbra all seem quite relaxed except when crossing the streets because of the mentality of Latin drivers. 

A quiet garden we passed by on our way down from the ancient university

We're near the bottom of the hill now

We passed by the "Mercado Municipal" , (the municipal market)

The streets seemed empty. Perhaps that's because it's weekend?

Maybe the people here prefer to stay indoor when it's hot. Who doesn't?

Another 19th century building we passed by

A fountain in the middle of a river!