Heritage: Coimbra UNESCO status welcomed for prestige, boost to tourism


UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee decided that the University of Coimbra has unquestionable exceptional universal value and that therefore deserved to be classed as World Heritage.

Culture What's New — 24 June 2013 by Lusa News
Heritage: Coimbra UNESCO status welcomed for prestige, boost to tourism

A student poses for the picture at the University of Coimbra on the day it was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site (Photograph: Paulo Novais/EPA)

The decision by a UNESCO committee to designate Portugal’s University of Coimbra as World Heritage has been welcomed by city and national officials as bringing prestige to the country as well as economic benefits.

The classification will benefit “the economy, tourism, the knowledge and the cosmopolitanism” of Coimbra, and brings much prestige to Portugal, the country’s minister for Foreign Affairs, Paulo Portas, said in a statement sent to news agency Lusa.

It’s a great day for Portugal and for Coimbra,” the statement says. “The deserving candidacy for World Heritage status did brilliantly.”

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, meeting in Cambodia at the weekend, decided on Saturday that the University of Coimbra has unquestionable exceptional universal value and that therefore deserved to be classed as World Heritage.

Two areas were classified: a hilltop complex of buildings including the lavishly decorated university library, the Biblioteca Joanina, and parts of the lower town. These include the Santa Cruz religious foundation and the old and new cathedrals, which had a major role in the university’s history.

The bid was prepared by the university, in partnership with the city council and other local entities. It was submitted by the national authorities in February of last year, after which there were a series of visits and consultations by UNESCO officials.

The university’s inclusion on the World Heritage list brings the obligation for Portugal to follow the Committee’s recommendations on how best to preserve the areas in question.

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