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Portugal, Coimbra – The University Heart of Iberia – VIDEO
Coimbra, a student town of 150 thousand is situated somewhere in the middle between Porto and Lisbon. There is one of the oldest unviersities in Europe sitting on the hill above the Mondego river. The university, which is the oldest in Portual, was founded in 1290 – 60 years before the famous Charles University in Prague was founded. Tens of thousands of students at this university make this town great including the nightlife there.
Majority of the sights are situated on the hill where you can find a university. Basically, it is on this hill where almost entire historical center of the city is. It is very probable that you will start your sightseeing on Largo da Portagem square. You can reach a very well preserved city gate if you go down Ferreira Borges boulevard. Once you go through the gate you will enter the core of the city.
There are narrow streets beyond count where you can get lost for long hours. Yet the historical center is small. There are many historical hosues, several small churches, chaples and there are vistas over the river and the rest of the city. The steeper you climb the faster you reach the main building of the university which is on the UNESCO's world heritage list. To see the oldest part of universtiy compound is to make a trip which will impress you. There is also beautiful historical library with thousands precious scriptures.
Visit the "new" Sé Nova cathedral on the university compound. Make a stop at Escadas Monumentais stairs. The view opens up over an aquaduct, botanical garden, and a prison on the opposite of the hill. Should you missed the "old" Cathedral Sé Velha on your way up then stop there and look inside. The cathedral was built in the 12th century. Many reconstructions resulted in a diverse combination of many influential architectonic styles which you may recognize today.
Couple more beautiful churches including Igreja de São Tiago and Igreja de Santa Cruz are below the hill next to the town hall. You can walk through several more historical streets on your way back. This time without hills.
The remains of Moistero de Santa Clara-a-Velha, a 14th century cloister, are situated on the other side of the river. The cloister had to be abandoned due to large floods two centuries later. Therefore, a new cloister was built up on the hill. And you can go there. In case you travel with children, go to Portugal dos Pequenitos – a theme park where scale-models of traditional villages, significant Portuguese and some former colonies' landmarks are on display. There is also the Costumes Museum inside and a Barbie doll collection.
Coimbra has no access to the sea, it is not particularly large or culturaly diversive like Lisbon or Porto. Still, Coimbra attracts many visitors mostly for its historical sights, or great atmosphere in the city. Coimbra is vibrant thanks to students. Join them in the evening. Enjoy local wine and great cuisine. Enjoy easy-going Portugal way of life.
Wine, coffee, cliffs, waves. The western-most country of continental Europe is of the sort everybody likes. It belongs to the top 20 most visited countries in the world. There are beautiful beaches including the best surf beaches of all Europe. Nature in the inland is magnificent as wel. Culture is rich and cities are lively and busy. Let's visit Portugal!
Knight of Templars are still veiled in mystery. And a lot has been written about the order, both fiction and non-fiction. Yet seldomly do we meet any Templar knight. Well, I don't mean face to face as the order was abolished by the pope in the year 1312 but its structures and art.
Isle of the Eternal Spring? In the middle of the Atlantic? This is the Azores archipelago. Nine notable volcanic islands protruding into the Atlantic Ocean. Towards the west is the island of Flores and the island of Corvo, in the middle of the islands of Graciosa, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial and east of Sao Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas. All islands except Santa Maria are volcanic. It is on three lithospheric plates: Eurasian, African and North American.
Lisboa is righteously one of the most visited cities in Europe. Yellow trams, hills, cable cars... You can easily get lost in its colorful streets for hours. Washed laundry waves in the wind, you can drink coffee with locals at one of many great cafes and taste local sweet pastry. You can also just set off to the grandiose Ponte 25 de Abril, a red bridge which looks like Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
It is an archipelago and also an island which is located in the Macaronesia region. Only two islands are inhabited as the whole archipelago is a natural reserve. These islands are Madeira and Porto Santo.
Travel to Madeira by plane only. There is probably no other way to travel almost 1000 kilometers from Portugal and 600 kilometers from North Africa. Moreover, sailing on a ship might not be comfortable for everybody.
A 5 thousand meters high massif of lava was created after huge explosion in the Atlantic. Today we can see only a glimpse of it and this glimpse is Madeira. The island is self-reliant. There are couple of power plants (water, wind), fertile soil and sea rich on fish.
Apart from famous Madeira wine (Japan is its largest importer), poncho (a liquor with lemon flavor) is another traditional beverage. You can replace lemon juice with orange or maracuja juice. It is served cold for refreshments. Or it is served also warm as prevention from getting cold. The wine festival takes place end August beginning September.
Another stop to the west of the island is Porto Moniz. From Sao Vincente you travel through tunnels. Make a stop at Ribeira da Janela town. It is a place of dark volcanic rock. The lovers’ rock rises from the sea there.
Today, we take a look at the eastern part of the island in the direction from Funchal to the easternmost part where are droughts. It seems as if it was not Madeira there. The landscape is vastly different and there grows almost no vegetation at all. It is only after rains when it gets bit of green there. No levada leads to this area. You can find them only in the mountains. The area is inhabited, however. Therefore, some vegetation is actually there.
Fátima - Mecca of all Catholics, and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites around the world. It is located in central Portugal, about 120 km from Lisbon. There is a place, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three children, and prophesied many later events.