The third-largest urban centre in Portugal (after the much larger cities of Lisbon and Porto), it is the largest city of the district of Coimbra, the Centro region and the Baixo Mondego subregion. About 460,000 people live in the Região de Coimbra, comprising 19 municipalities and extending into an area . Although it served as the nation's capital in the High Middle Ages, it is better known for the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world.
Among the many archaeological structures date back to the Roman era, when Coimbra was the settlement of Aeminium, are its well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus. Similarly, buildings from the period when Coimbra was the capital of Portugal (from 1131 to 1255) still remain. During the Late Middle Ages, with its decline as the political centre of the Kingdom of Portugal, Coimbra began to evolve into a major cultural centre, helped by the university finally established there in 1537. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, apart from attracting many European and international students, is visited by tourists for its monuments and history.
The historical University buildings were classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2013: "Coimbra offers an outstanding example of an integrated university city with a specific urban typology as well as its own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been kept alive through the ages."
History and landmarks