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World Heritage Sites in Center of Portugal

In the center of Portugal, considered the largest and most diverse touristic region in the country, we have different landscapes (oceans and mountains), cultures (historical villages and cities) and flavors (rich in local products and gastronomic traditions).

From its immensity, we highlight in this article four locations: “Universidade de Coimbra, Alta e Sofia”; “Convento de Cristo” in Tomar; “Mosteiro de Alcobaça”; “Mosteiro da Batalha”.

What unites these hallmarks, beyond their geographical proximity? They were all considered World Heritage by UNESCO and together build a trip to the formation of the Portuguese nationality and identity.

The University of Coimbra, Alta and Sofia integrate the UNESCO World Heritage list since June 2013. At the time, the UNESCO Committee emphasized that more important than the architectural value of the consecrated area itself is the central role of the university and the city in the Portuguese culture and in the Portuguese language. Of the UNESCO World Heritage area it is important to highlight: The “Paço das Escolas” as the heart of the University, where a set of symbolic buildings for the University of Coimbra and generations of students like the “Porta Férrea” entrance; the ”Biblioteca Joanina” library; the “Sala dos Capelos” and “a Cabra”, the University tower; “Rua da Sofia” where in 1537 the history of the university began to be written when it was definitely set in Coimbra. In this wide street, which starts at “Ladeira de Santa Justa” and ends at “Praça 8 de Maio”, 27 colleges were built, of which 7 resist, each with their respective church.

50 minutes from Coimbra, the imposing “Convento de Cristo” is located in Tomar, World Heritage since 1983. The “Convento de Cristo” includes the “Castelo Templário” and the “Mata dos Sete Montes” and is one of largest monumental ensembles of peninsular and European architecture, with seven centuries of construction and 45 hectares. But what justifies its classification as World Heritage is the “Charola dos Templários” that symbolizes the European medieval world, the crusades and the defense of the faith and the unusual Manueline Window of the Chapter Room that depicts the first contacts between the Western European world and the
the Eastern world.

60 minutes from Coimbra we find the oldest of the four World Heritage sites in central Portugal: “Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça”. Recognized by UNESCO since 1989, its importance goes back to 1153 (only ten years after the foundation of Portugal) when D. Afonso Henriques attributed to the Cistercian Order a territory of about 44 thousand hectares, thus making this abbey one of the most relevant cultural, religious and ideological headquarters of the time. In addition to being one of the best preserved medieval monastic complexes in Europe, it is there that the tombs of D. Pedro and D. Inês de Castro are found, central to one of the most beautiful and tragic love stories of the Middle Ages and whose main scenario was “Quinta das Lágrimas”, in Coimbra.

Also about 1 hour from Coimbra is the “Mosteiro da Santa Maria da Vitória”, also called “Mosteiro da Batalha”, considered in 1893 a UNESCO heritage site. The “Mosteiro da Batalha” represents the devotion to the Virgin Mary and the gratitude of D. João I for the victory for the independence of Portugal in the Battle of Ajubarrota, fought on August 14, 1385. The “Mosteiro da Batalha” also represents the “creative genius of humanity” because it enchants by its intersection of technical, architectural and artistic influences, mainly Gothic and Manueline style.

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Hotel Oslo - Coimbra
Av. Fernão de Magalhães, 25
3000-175 Coimbra, Portugal
Tel. +351 239 829 071
Fax. +351 239 820 614
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