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Mosteiro de Santa Clara a Nova

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New but old

Published by Ethel Rudnitzki — 2 years ago

Coimbra used to have a big monastry, called Mosteiro de Santa Clara, that flooded during the 17th century, and only reapeared in the last years - and now it's open for visitations. Another monastry with the same name (but identified as the new one) was built then to replace the old one. It is Mosteiro de Santa Clara a Nova, located on top of a high hill, to avoid other floodings. 

New but old

It is a construction from the 17th century and because of its high point, has a great view of the city, besides being itself a beautiful place. It is a huge building with a big church, and many cloisters and rooms where the nuns used to live. When the religious orders where forbidden in Portugal, the building became a militar base, so it has a lot of history in its walls

You can see all this history by visiting the monastry. Inside the church, you'll find the tomb of D. Isabel Aragão, Coimbra's patroness, who used to live there. You'll also be able to see the cloisters, the ruins of a chapel that used to exist in the garden, the unending hallways and the rooms that once were the nun's rooms and became militar offices in the last centry. 

New but old

The place can be kind of creepy, with mold in the walls, abandoned roomns and broken windows. But if you see it in another way, you can find beauty in it, admiring the great view to the city of Coimbra, the portuguese tiiles on the walls and the ancient architecture.

New but old

Also, there are art expositions and events that take place there. Those are usually free to visit and make you see the monastry from another point of view.

Inside the monastry there is also a bookshop and a cafe, great for having some snacks after visiting the whole place. The gardens are also a great place for hanging out and enjoying the outsides - it has lots of beautiful trees and plants and a priviledged view for the sunset

New but old

My experience

When I visited it, the Ano Zero Bienal exposition was happening, and it will be there until the 31st of december, if you want to check it out! It is a contemporary art exhibition, with videos, installations, sculptures and even music presentations. Really nice! 

The monastry is not among the most famous attractions in Coimbra but it is a really nice place to visit! If you're spending some time in the city, don't miss it˜

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