With a dramatic hilltop location, the exceptionally attractive and unspoiled city of Coimbra served as Portugal’s capital from 1139 to 1260. Important archaeological remains, such as its well-preserved aqueduct, survive from when it was the Roman town of Aeminium. The city evolved into a major cultural center with the relocation (and renaming) of the University of Coimbra in 1537. This internationally famous institution contains an astonishingly ornate baroque library. The old town comprises a maze of narrow and picturesque alleys. With a population of around 150,000, Coimbra today is the fourth-largest urban center in Portugal. Overall, the atmosphere of the city is gracious, cultivated and hospitable.

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