Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra

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Browse a collection of 250,000 volumes, some dating back to 1750, at Biblioteca Joanina, a rich European library. The older works are difficult to preserve because of their fragile papers, but the site uses both modern technology and ancient techniques to maintain them--including hosting a colony of live bats, which eat bibliophagic insects and woodworms. Walk through three rooms of the library, adorned with decorative arches, painted ceiling murals, and gilded shelves carved out of tropical wood. Take a guided tour and learn about the history of the institution. To visit Biblioteca Joanina on your holiday in Coimbra, and find out what else Coimbra has to offer, use our Coimbra.
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Biblioteca Joanina reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
5,063 reviews
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4.4
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  • Very impressive old bibliography, but 12,5€ and it is not allowed to take fotos, and even worse there are no further information to it. Even though we booked the tour we just got out with the... 
    Very impressive old bibliography, but 12,5€ and it is not allowed to take fotos, and even worse there are no further information to it. Even though we booked the tour we just got out with the...  more »
  • The Portuguese are very friendly and welcoming, so I wonder where they picked up the staff at the Joanina Library. The guy at the entrance door tells us in an annoyed tone that we have to climb the... 
    The Portuguese are very friendly and welcoming, so I wonder where they picked up the staff at the Joanina Library. The guy at the entrance door tells us in an annoyed tone that we have to climb the...  more »
Google
  • The library is very beautiful with very nice Baroque style. There are no pictures allowed in the beautiful/fancy part of the library so it was a bummer. Only four stars because people are only allowed to be in the library for 20 min (5 min in the academic prison, 5 min in the historical book section, 10 min in the fancy/most beautiful pet of the library) somehow it feels a bit too expensive for a very short visit.
  • The Joanina library is the most beautiful part of your Coimbra University visit. It's named after Portuguese King Joao V who ordered its construction to impress his future wife, Princess of Austria. During the 1700's Portugal was at its peak of colonial power, so many exclusive high quality materials were brought from the colonies to finish it. Best architects, wood sculptors and artists were engaged, which resulted in amazing decoration and beauty. BEWARE: 1. You cannot buy tickets on the spot by the Library at the University square. 2. Tickets for the entire University complex are sold across the Chemical Laboratory (also included in the entrance) which is around the corner of the new Se Cathedral (some 10 min walk from the University square itself). Very illogical, but that's it - do that first to avoid double walking like we did. 3. You must comply with the time slot given for the library, to be there at exact time. Entrance is on the left side down the stairs from the front Library facade. 4. You go only with your tour and have a total of around 20 min. 5. First 5 min is for the basement floor which used to be an academic prison - disappointing and nothing to see. 6. Second 5 min is for the first floor where some historic books are (very average, you begin to think you waste your time and money) 7. The last 10 min are in the jaw dropping main library on the second floor (actually the main square level) where you will exit.

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