Coimbra: The Town

On one end of a pedestrian walkway lined with shops and cafes is the Church of Santa Cruz. The other end of the walkway opens to a plaza and a beautiful view of the Mondego River. The plaza is filled with people at cafe tables complimented by a fountain and surrounded by wedding cake buildings.

The first two kings of Portugal are buried in the church and it has been granted the status of National Pantheon.

The interior is striking with hand-painted blue and white tiles, white painted walls with stonework appearing here and there and a presence created by a magnificent altar.


From the church, you can walk along the pedestrian walkway to the river. Along the way are shops and cafes. The end of the street opens to a plaza which is the main square in Coimbra and considered the center of the city. When I was there in May, it was filled with people at tables chatting, others wandering around the tables of jewelry and crafts and children darting from one place to the next. The sun was shining and sparkling on the river beyond.

It was a lively scene.

Largo da Potagem with a statue of  Joaquim António de Aguiar, Prime Minister of Portugal between 1808 and 1817

Facing the statue of Joaquim António de Aguiar in the middle of the plaza, to the left, are what I call wedding cake buildings. These buildings are usually a pale pastel with wonderful decorative embellishments.

Banco de Portugal

If you continue towards the river, you will see to your right the Astoria Hotel which was built in 1926.


The day was beautiful when I visited Coimbra so I decided to continue my walk along the river where there is a park, Parque Verde do Mondego.

In the park were three cafes with most people sitting at tables outside.

I came across this interesting work using vines along the side of a small cafe.


In the river is a fountain and beyond the fountain, on the other side of the river on the hill, is the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova.


Below is the Esplanade Cafe along the river in the park.


On the other side of the street, peeking through the trees, more beautiful buildings with shops and cafes below and apartments above.


Another beautiful day in Portugal.

-Dora Taylor

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