The city of Coimbra
Coimbra is a mid-size city (circa 150.000 inhabitants) located in the centre of Portugal. It is famous for its University the oldest in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. The University was, and still is, so important for the city that it was named "the city of students".
The University was founded in the 13th Century. in 2013 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site. The classification includes the acropolis alongside with Rua da Sofia [details here].
The origins of the city date back to the Roman period (Aeminium) and important archaeological remains are worth a visit (for example the Criptopótico, under Museu Machado de Castro, not far from the building of the Faculty of Arts). The city was conquered by the Visigoths after the fall of Rome, and then by the Muslims at the dawn of the 8th century.
By the beginning of the 12th, after a long period of conquest and reconquest, Coimbra was finally gained for the Christians, as part of the Condado Portucalence (future Portugal). Throughout medieval times Coimbra received a number of monuments, the Old Cathedral being one of the most significant ones. Circa 6.000 people lived in the city: the nobles and the clergy at the upper part (Almedina) and the merchants, artisans and common people at the lower part (still inside the walls) and near the river (the so-called Arrabalde).
During the 15th and 16th centuries, the so called Age of Discovery, Coimbra became one of the main artistic centres of Portugal thanks to both local and royal patronage. Bishops, religious orders and Kings sponsored artists like the two Diogo Pires (father and son), Marcos Pires, João de Castilho, Diogo de Castilho and the Frenchmen, João de Ruão and Nicholas of Chanterene. Many others could be mentioned... who produced important Manueline and Renaissance works in the town.
By 1772 the University was under reform, a decision taken by the Prime Minister of King D. José, Marquês de Pombal. Sciences gained relevance and Science Museum was created at the University. During the 19th century to major events effected the city: the French invasions and the expulsion of the religious orders in 1854, that forced a reorganisation of the urban area.
After the IIWW, during the 1940s and the 1950s, the Government decided to expand and renovate the University and that plan forced to major changes in the upper part of the City - most of what we see today before we cross the "Porta Férrea" and enter the "old" University is the result of that period.
The Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Coimbra
Address: Largo Porta Férrea, 3000-530 Coimbra
Tel. +351 239 859 900
GPS: 40° 12' 29.27" N 8° 25' 31.24" W
The royal charter of King D.Dinis from the 1st of March 1290 announces the institution of the first Portuguese University School in Lisbon referred as “Estudos Gerais”. In 1307 it was transferred to Coimbra and provided with its own building in the Upper Town in a nearby location of today’s University Library . “Estudos Gerais” have been transferred twice to Lisbon. In 1338 under King Afonso IV and in 1377 under King Fernando. Between 1354 and 1377, “Estudos Gerais” settled in Coimbra, in the downtown area. In 1537 under King John the III th, the University was permanently transferred to Coimbra, to the facility premises belonging to the Royal Palace of the Alcazaba. The Republican Government fostered important reforms in the education system including the establishment in 1911 of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FLUC).
The current facilities premises of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities were built during the rule of António de Oliveira Salazar, as part of a remodeling program of the uper town surrounding the Royal Palace of the Alcazaba. The architectural alterations of this program led to the destruction of an urban complex with its ancient streets and buildings of historical and artistic value at Coimbra’s“Alta”. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities was by then transferred from the existing facilities of the General Library and Archive, where it had been located to its current building.
The Faculty of Arts and Humanities current building was inaugurated on the 22th of November, 1951. The building has seven floors. The main entrance, its hall of honor, is located on the fourth floor, at street level (at the level of Praça da Porta Férrea) The other entrance opens on the rear facade of the building, facing the Museum Machado de Castro, and allows an easy and direct communication with the Central Library located on the second floor.
In front of the building facade four statues of sculptor Feyo Barata, represent, from left to right, Eloquence, Philosophy, History and Poetry.
The façade five doors, of forged iron, are adorned with thirty small brass applications symbolizing classic themes related to subjects taught in the Faculty. In the hall of honor there are two frescoes: on the left side, an allegory of Classical Antiquity, by Joaquim Rebocho and on the right side, the Glorification of the Portuguese Genius allegory by Severo Portela, measuring 40 square meters each. Very recently both have been restored and protected.
Besides this building, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities is also consinged to Palace of Sub-Ripas, a sixteenth century building hold by the Institute of Archaeology, along to some facilities at College of St. Jerónimo, where Geography and Journalistic Studies are installed.
The Faculty has undergone several reforms, amoung which two ought to be mentioned – the one of 1956 and the one of 1978 – by their impact on the curricular organization and also on the scientific production of the Faculty.
FLUC is part of Humanities field , but differs from the other Faculties of this area by the research and the teaching that have characterized the humanistic knowledge: language, history, the binding between man and land, the human meaning of knowledge and the communicative word of man. The FLUC is structured according to a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate studies matching, on the one hand, the needs of a solid professional training and on the other, a scientific research project, its natural vocation. The FLUC aggregates different areas of expertise, each one hosting an abundant bibliographic information, therefore, it is organized into multiple Departments. The scientific, educational and informative dynamic of the Faculty revelals itself by the large number of scientific magazines it publishes. Organizing colloquiums, conferences, symposiums, seminars, conferences, debates, field trips, concerts and film screenings is also an important side of FLUC activities. By its participation in ERASMUS / SOCRATES Project, FLUC has been developping a progressive opening to their counterparts in Europe. Internationalization is highly valued, therefore, covenants, protocols or agreements with universities or Faculties of the European Union and Portuguese-speaking countries or communities where portuguese immigration is relevant are highly encouraged and prized.