It was quite a rainy afternoon when we arrived in the Portuguese university city Coimbra. So we put on our raincoats, hoodies over the head and went on a city hike anyway. Of course on the search for some cheering green. Which we found.
Coimbra has one of the oldest university cities in Europe. It was founded in 1290. There are all kinds of faculties and departments. The large Jardim Botánico has been constructed in 1773 by the Deparamento de Botánica, the botanical department of the university.
A large part is not open to the public at the moment, due to an extensive renovation project.
Above: The pink Cercis canadensis in full bloom.
Below left: Tree on slightly neglected azulejos tiles in the Jardim Da Sereia.
Below right: Wall painting in the students quarter.
The large glasshouse (1865) has been renovated completely and looks very slick. It is not open to public yet. This iron and glass greenhouse is an original design of the French architect Pézerat and contains room for three climate zones.
There’s also a Cold Greenhouse from 1945, built for plants adapted to humid and shaded environments.
The gates offer entrance to the Central Square.
Colourful and hot pink Camelias in March.
The evergreen hedges and ramblers in the Central Square.
The first flowers of the year.
Great trees of all kinds in the botanic garden.
One of them provides one of the best picnic spots in Portugal, I’d say.
In the long Linden Avenue 26 linden trees have been planted in 1891.
The BEST azulejos for nature lovers you discover in the São Bento college, a 16th-century building, situated at the corner of the botanic garden.
In this building, you also find a very old-fashioned but charming museum. Free admission, so just have a peek when you are in here anyway.
And when in town, you, of course, visit the rest of the famous university spots. Very charming: the students still wear classic black capes.
Information on green Coimbra
In the São Bento college on the Bairro Sousa Pinto, there’s the free to visit (during opening hours of the building) botanic museum.
In the Natural History Museum, there’s also an interesting collection to discover. It is located in a large building: the Laboratorio Chimico located at the square Largo Marquês de Pombal.
From their website:
“The Botany collection of the Museu da Ciência contains over 3.000 botanical specimens: fruits, seeds and branches, some stored dry and some preserved in spirit, and a series of vegetable products such as resins, gums, twigs, bark and wood from Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking African countries.
There is also an important collection with nearly 400 models of flowers and fruits from the late 19th century, made of wax and paper-mâché by the famous European manufacturers Ziegler, Brandel, Vasseur, and Auzoux.
The vegetable specimens are complemented by a valuable collection of plant fossils, instruments such as microscopes and magnifying glasses and a series of artifacts produced with vegetable materials.
With nearly 200.000 items the Zoology collection is the largest and more numerous. It contains the biggest object, a mounted skeleton of a right whale with a length of 20 meters, and the smallest objects, belonging to the insects’ groups. The vertebrates’ collection represents 5% of the total and is constituted by mammal skins, birds and fish stored dry and mounted for the exhibition, complete specimens of reptiles, amphibians and anomalies, preserved in spirit, and an osteology collection of mounted skeletons and skulls.
The bird collection contains many worldwide species, particularly from Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries, plus a collection of eggs and nests.
The mammals contain some unique native specimens.
The rest of the Zoology collection is composed of invertebrates, of which 75% are insects. The most significant collections are beetles (coleopteran), butterflies (Lepidoptera) and shells (mollusks). Also worth mentioning is the curious collection of exotic butterflies stored in their original cabinets, from the late 19th century, donated by António Carvalho Monteiro, the philanthropist of Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra.”