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A little caminho history from central Portugal...

2020 Camino Guides
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
I was stumbling my way through a blog written (in Portuguese) by the chairperson of Barqunha concelho (municipality would be the closest, I guess, in English). Sr. Freire is a history buff, and has done a lot of research on his/my district in the last decade. One of his posts from 2012 shows a map showing 16th century pilgrimage routes through central Portugal. I thought pilgrims today might be interested in this...

1569190922478.png

Sr. Freire notes that this route was referred to already at the time of Dom Dinis 1 (considered the king who was "father" of modern Portugal)--1302. The dotted and solid lines on the map above refer to the routes of two friars, Frere Claude de Bronsevel and Dom Edme de Saulieu, in 1532 and 1533. Unfortunately, the map is cut off north of Coimbra, but it clearly shows both the Central and Interior routes, as well as some interesting routing in the Alentejo, south of the Tagus.

For those of you with an historical bent, Dom Dinis's wife was the sainted Queen Isabella, who was canonized in 1625. She is the patron saint of Coimbra, and if you should make a stop in that city, the historical Santa Clara a Velha convent just across the bridge from central Coimbra is well worth a visit!

Original blog: https://atalaia-barquinha.blogspot.com/2012/04/atalaia-e-barquinha-nos-caminhos-de.html

(Note the absence on the map of Fatima, which is a 20th-century site.)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
More on Coimbra: this map https://pilgrimdb.github.io/maps.html?route=topo/portugues showing the route into Coimbra indicates that the recommended walking route goes right across the bridge adjacent to the Santa Clara a Velha convent:

Coimbra--location of convent.jpg

An easy detour, and fascinating. The convent was submerged for 400 years because of flooding of the River Mondego! Now a historical site.
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
Coimbra is lovely - well worth a visit even if you're not walking any of these routes. The train from Lisbon doesn't cost much, and there is a lot to see and do. And eat, of course.

When I walked through Coimbra a few years ago, I was happy that I had already been there as a tourist, but I saw different things on each visit.
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
More on Coimbra: this map https://pilgrimdb.github.io/maps.html?route=topo/portugues showing the route into Coimbra indicates that the recommended walking route goes right across the bridge adjacent to the Santa Clara a Velha convent:

View attachment 65017

An easy detour, and fascinating. The convent was submerged for 400 years because of flooding of the River Mondego! Now a historical site.
Below (or wherever those images will be posted) - are a few photos of the pilgrim place of the mentioned Convento site. taken 2014 during my caminho there - Fond memories -
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Great photos of a beautiful city!

I may be mistaken, but I think the convent pictures above are Santa Clara a Nova. They actually built a second convent further up the hill, and moved Santa Isabella's tomb up there, after Santa Clara a Velha was flooded out. It sat underwater for 400+ years, drowned by the river, and then about 10 years ago was drained and excavated, and turned into a fascinating historical site with a small museum. The newer convent is spectacular in a different way.

a nova = "the new" a velha = "the old"

Below: the old convent with its cloister flooded--the church was used as a barn, I believe, for many, many years!

1569253457787.png

Below: after draining, excavations, and renewal. If you look at the base of the buttresses on the church in the two photos, you can see how much was underwater!

1569253556331.png
 
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amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
Great photos of a beautiful city!

I may be mistaken, but I think the convent pictures above are Santa Clara a Nova. They actually built a second convent further up the hill, and moved Santa Isabella's tomb up there, after Santa Clara a Velha was flooded out. It sat underwater for 400+ years, drowned by the river, and then about 10 years ago was drained and excavated, and turned into a fascinating historical site with a small museum. The newer convent is spectacular in a different way.

a nova = "the new" a velha = "the old"

Below: the old convent with its cloister flooded--the church was used as a barn, I believe, for many, many years!

View attachment 65056

Below: after draining, excavations, and renewal. If you look at the base of the buttresses on the church in the two photos, you can see how much was underwater!

View attachment 65058
indeed - you are quite right - it's the "new" one (As Gustavo, 'my' guide then also shared that the "new" one is the largest/most 'intact' Baroque Convent in Europe ). Unfortunately, no photo taking permitted - hence I am not able to share any of the courtyard and other marvelous sights, etc. - Thank you so very much posting the images of the 'even older' convent. Saluti - C
 

Judit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP Lisbon to Porto Jun/Jul 2018. CP Porto to SdC (Coastal and Spiritual Variant) Jun/Jul 2019
I had a rest day in Coimbra and spent a lovely day doing touristy things. The old University library and tower get my vote too. The Botanic Gardens were quiet and peaceful, and Portugal dos Pequenitos (a collection of miniature Portuguese houses, bits of famous buildings lumped together, and pavilions from the old empire) was very interesting and a bit crazy too. I am definitely going to go back there as a total tourist at some point, and have a more in-depth look around.
 

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