An alternative perspective on Coimbra

Venue: Guided visit with “alternative insights” into the city of Coimbra, Portugal
Date: 1 July 2012

The city of Coimbra is widely renown for its tight relationship with the University, which has broadly marked the urban space during the city’s history. This relationship has been strengthened during the last century, especially modifying the uptown (Alta) area. Thus, visiting the University coincides with visiting the core of the city, through the spaces that host the spaces of knowledge (the Pátio das Escolas, previously the Arab Alcáçova, then the Royal palace and – from the XVI century – the University) and the residential areas for students, especially the famous large diversity of “Republicas,” a type of student house with commonly shaped rules. Our tour will dedicate the morning to better understand such spaces, and the roles they played in controlling the training of the elites who dominated the Portuguese empire during the colonial period.

But Coimbra is not only the University: it is also the space around the Mondego River, with its park, the “Portugal of Kids” (with its strong colonial bias) and the museum area of Santa Clara-a-Velha, as well as a wide multiplicity of peripheral neighbours forged by the fights of social movements and cooperative groups after the Revolution of 1974. The second part of the tour will focus on visiting several different spaces where alternative ways of living gradually took shape: social housing estates, community allotment gardens, protected natural areas and active associations. Our guides will be architects as well as citizens who live in these places, because “cities are us”…


Check itinerary here.