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Museu Nacional Machado de Castro

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Roman Coimbra

Published by Ethel Rudnitzki — 2 years ago

Coimbra is a very historic and cultural city. This is a fact known by many people due to the fame of the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest and most traditional in Europe.

Very few people know, though, that Coimbra's history and culture is much more older than that. The city used to be an roman city in the 1st century, called Emínio. It was an important place where many political and religious events would take place.

Vestiges of this history can be found at Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, a museum in the center of Coimbra that holds many art and historic treasures.



The museum was inaugurated in the beggining of the 20th century, but it was reformed and a new building was built. It reopened in 2012, with more collections and exhibitions.

But even before that, the building where it is located used to be an important place. It used to be the bishop's palace in Coimbra during the Middle Age and some of the original structures are still there, including the church of São João de Almedina and the palace entrance rock portal.

What to see in the Museum

Museu Nacional Machado de Casto was built on top of a cryptoporticus, a roman empire structure made to hold up for the city's forum and also used as a storage place. You can visit the ruins of it inside the museum.


Other roman vestiges are also exhibited, such as tombs and sculptures.

Besides the roman history, the Museum has a great collection of Middle Age and Reinassance art, including religious paintings, sculptures and more. The most famous art pieces exhibited are the Dead Christ on the Tomb, that used to be on Santa Clara monastry, and the Last Supper sculpture by Hodart.


Also, there are decorative art and jewelery from the portuguese kings, made with material from the colonies during the 16th century.

The museum building is another great thing. It used to be a medieval religious palace, so it has vestiges of that time, including a rock portal, an old church and ancient rooms that now keep art pieces and treasures.

The building is also located in a very priviledged spot, and it has a great view of the city, from a high point where you can see Sé Velha church's dome, the main building of the university and the many small houses of Coimbra from the top.



Museu Nacional Machado de Castro is open from tuesday to sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. It is located next to the most famous attractions in town, such as the main campus of the university, Sé Velha and Sé Nova churches.

You must buy tickets to get in: 6 euros for general admission or 3 euros if you're student or an european union resident under 25 years old. On sundays, until 2 pm, the entrance is free for people living in Portugal.

Paying or not, the visit is great. It takes about 2 hours to visit the whole museum and if you wish to have a coffe or a meal before or after the visit, there is a great restaurant inside the museum that serves great portuguese food. It also has a great view to the city and is very well located.

Being a tourist or a resident, if you're in Coimbra don't lose the opportunity to see roman ruins and to see many important medieval art, while visiting an historic building, in Museu Machado de Castro. I'm sure you will love it just like I did.

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