Torre da Universidade de Coimbra (University Tower), Coimbra

Torre da Universidade de Coimbra (University Tower), Coimbra

The University Tower dominates the university courtyard and buildings. It was built in 1537 as the palace of King John III became the University of Coimbra. It was declared, "There could be no university without a clock". So the tower was equipped with a clock and bells. A freshman student was not to be seen on the streets after the bell tolled.

When the tower was built no one had a watch. The clock and bells were needed to regulate the day. The current clock was installed in 1867. It replaced the clock from 1728, which in turn had replaced another clock. Old statutes require that the University clock should always be a quarter of an hour behind town time.

The tower is 112 feet high and it sits on the highest point on the city's skyline. Long called "Cabra" (meaning "Goat" in English) by local citizens, it has become the iconic symbol of Coimbra itself. The bells of Cabra would ring every 15 minutes and on the hour to announce classes. The most important worker in the University was the bell ringer.

Visitors may climb to the top of the tower for a small fee. It is not an easy climb, there are many stairs. The view from the top is breathtaking. One can see the Mondego River, all of the University and the town in every direction. Afternoons on a clear day are best for an unforgettable sunset.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Coimbra. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Torre da Universidade de Coimbra (University Tower) on Map

Sight Name: Torre da Universidade de Coimbra (University Tower)
Sight Location: Coimbra, Portugal (See walking tours in Coimbra)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Coimbra, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Coimbra

Create Your Own Walk in Coimbra

Creating your own self-guided walk in Coimbra is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Coimbra Introduction Walking Tour

Coimbra Introduction Walking Tour

The ancient Roman city of Aeminium, by the Mondego River, eventually became the city of Coimbra. The modern Machado de Castro National Museum rests on the remains of a medieval bishop's palace. The palace was supported by an old cryptoporticus and Roman forum. The forum was the seed of the political and religious center of a city always reborn.

For more than 100 years Aeminium was held by...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Historic Buildings Walking Tour

Historic Buildings Walking Tour

There are many magnificent and old churches in Coimbra. The buildings of the cathedrals and churches represent the most splendid architecture of Europe: Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo. The interior of these churches are very richly ornate by the works of art: paintings of the greatest European artists, sculptures and other art. This self-guided tour will lead you to the beautiful churches and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles