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The Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery

The Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery was built in 1314 at the request of Rainha Santa Isabel, patron saint of Coimbra. Completed in 1330, the Monastery stood out for the size of the Church and Cloister and for the stone vault that covers the three naves of the same size.

Located low on the left bank of the Mondego River, recurring floods affected the Monastery and a decision to undergo the construction of an upper floor in the same building, further enriching its beauty and forever connecting its history to the Mondego river. After relentless flooding throughout the years, a decision to build a new convent higher on the nearby hill was made, resulting in the Santa Clara-a-Nova Monastery where, in 1677, the Clarissa nuns lived in isolation. Santa Clara-a-Velha was thus abandoned to the river’s will and progressively went into ruins.

It was at the end of the XX century that, due to the museologic works, the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha gained a new life. It reopened doors showing its vast and diverse collection that includes the Church, recovered archaeological objects from the 1300’s onwards that had been preserved by the floodings and an Interpretive Center where, through audiovisual media, the history and daily-life on the Monastery is presented, including the path to its rebirth as an unique museum.

In 2010, the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery was awarded the Europa Nostra 2010 prize, one of the most important European heritage awards, for its valued conservation works.

Tuesday to Sunday: 09 a.m. to 5 p.m.

239 801 160


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Hotel Oslo - Coimbra
Av. Fernão de Magalhães, 25
3000-175 Coimbra, Portugal
Tel. +351 239 829 071
(national landline call)
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