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Published on Jul 8, 2010
Coimbra is a city in Coimbra Municipality in Portugal. It served as the country's capital during the First Dynasty (12th Century) and remains home to the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world and one of the oldest in Europe.
According to the INE's census of 2001, the city proper had a population of 101,069 and the municipality had a population of 148,443 in a 319.4 km² land area. Over 430,000 people live in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Coimbra, comprising 16 municipalities and spreading over 3,372 km². It is the seat of the Centro region, as well as of the District of Coimbra and the Baixo Mondego subregion. Like most university cities, Coimbra is home to many students from elsewhere, including thousands of international students.
Coimbra is one of the most important urban centers of Portugal after the much larger Lisbon Metropolitan Area and Porto Metropolitan Area. Coimbra plays a role as the chief urban centre of the central part of the country. The city contains important archeological remains of structures dating from the time when it was the Roman town of Aeminium, such as its well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus, as well as from the period when it served as the capital of Portugal (from 1139 to about 1260). In the Late Middle-Ages, declining as the political centre of the Kingdom of Portugal, Coimbra began to evolve into a major cultural centre with the foundation of the University of Coimbra in 1290. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, attracts visitors from around the world due to its monumental buildings and history, making the city an important touristic destination. ( source Wikipedia )