Old Monestary of Santa Clara, Coimbra

#4 of 22 in Historic Sites in Coimbra
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
Inundated and hidden by centuries of floods, Old Monestary of Santa Clara now stands as a preserved example of Gothic religious architecture. Constructed during the 1300s, the building succumbed to constant flooding of the Mondego River by the 17th century. Visit the abandoned monastery, which was excavated during the latter half of the 20th century, and you'll be greeted with a near-complete complex restored to viewable condition. Wander through the church on the raised platforms within, and you'll see naves, cloisters, chapels, and courtyards--giving you an idea of how the building appeared when the waters finally swallowed it. Stop by the visitor center for more background information on the founding, construction, and history of the convent, as well as a display of artifacts found at the site. Old Monestary of Santa Clara is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our , custom trip planner Edition.
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  • Although the site was almost completely destroyed with the consecutive floods over a period of 150 years, it has been restored through the past few years. Of the former monastery only the foundations....  more »
  • We stumbled on the ruined Convent of Santa Clara-a-Velha late on our first afternoon in Coimbra, after walking along the Mondego river and visiting the gardens of the Quinta das Lágrimas. This...  more »
  • This remount to my teenager times when the monastery was always under water because of the floods. Nowadays a very organized museum with explanations very clear divided in various sections and precious pieces of pottery that the aristocratic ladies used to offer when entering to become nuns. Everything was rebuilt and one can see the stones which were part of the architecture. Watching the video in the museum gives us the perspective of the evolution of the monument. A must see!
  • This was my first archaeological site visit so it was quite exciting. I am quite lucky to visit now that the monastery's lower floor is no longer submerged in water. For those with a fear of heights, it can be a bit daunting but I braved on and walked about the top platform to take a look at the remains of the yard. There was a room that you are supposed to go into once you are outside heading to the site after the museum but that was locked.
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