Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra

Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra - Address, Phone Number

Address: Pátio das Escolas da Universidade de Coimbra, 3004-531 Coimbra, Portugal

Phone: +351-239242744

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Time Required: 00:30 Mins

Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

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About Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra

This 18th century library, though a part of the University of Coimbra campus, is an attraction in its own right! Commissioned by King John V its interior is divided into three distinct parts:

  • Noble Floor: Opulently decorated, this is the sight that most people come to see. Constructed from the richest and most exotic materials from around the globe, it has 40,000 volumes, and a huge portrait of King John V by Domenico Duprà.
  • Academic Prison (Prisao Academica): The cells into which unruly students were banished were moved to the space under the library in 1773, into the old jail cells of the Palace
  • The Intermediate Floor: Which functioned as the restricted depository of the library. A winding staircase from here was the only access to the prison.

Apparently, the library is also home to two small colonies of bats that are invaluable in the conservation of the books.

Biblioteca Joanina Opening and Closing Hours

  • The library opens every 20 minutes to accept a batch of 60 tourists.
  • Closed during the Queima das Fitas Parade.

How To reach Biblioteca Joanina by Public Transport

  • Smtuc Elevator
  • Bus routes: 1A, 34 e 103
  • Walk to here.
  • Drive to Praca de Republica and park there.

Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in Coimbra before you plan your trip.

Fancy a good night's sleep after a tiring day? Check out where to stay in Coimbra and book an accommodation of your choice.

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Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra Reviews

user-pics
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  • Awesome historic library with interesting stories. Bats living inside it come out during the night and eat up insects. Beautiful shelves filled with books became a motif for the amazing scene of movie 'Beauty and the Beast'.

  • Very nice library and impressive to see. You get a slot for entry because max. 60 people can enter at once. In our case it only took 15 minutes (in August 2017) but it can take significantly longer. Photos are not allowed and the staff is pretty strict about this. This place is for sure a must-see in Coimbra since it's one of the oldest libraries in Europe with a unique collection of roughly 60,000 books.

  • Beautiful historic library that is a must see even though you get 20 minutes to visit and it is 12€ for adults and 9€ for seniors. In addition to the library, you'll get to visit the Chapel, the Castle and the Science Museum, which is very fascinating with thousands of 18th & 19th century instruments and Earth species. You enter the library from two floor below and they allow five minutes on the first and second floor, where photos are allowed. On the first floor there are a bunch of old jail cells. On the second floor, there are some books and artifacts. You are then ushered to the library main floor where you get 10 minutes to explore this magnificent room. This is where photo taking is prohibited. Even with all sorts of verbal and signage warning about "no photos", there are still those who go for it and then they get chastised. Only if people would learn to respect the environment where air temprature, humidity and light is constantly controlled to protect these valuable books up to 500 years old! Entry is timed for every 20 minutes and in all honesty 20 minutes is sufficient time. Tickets are not sold at the library. As you enter the University campus and before you get to the library you'll be going through a square where you'll see signs directing you to the ticket office. This is not a working library as the University has a new library. If a scholar wants to review one of the books, the book is transported to the new library and that person gets to review it in a special temperature/light controlled room. The building was specifically built for a library with it's exterior wall thickness of 3 meters and 11 centimeter to provide the maximum temperature protection. The wood for the main doors, book cases and interior doors are from jacaranda tree and were imported from Brasil. The gold for the wall paintings also came from Brasil. The bookcases are not attached to the wall to allow air movement behind them. The ecosystem of the library is very unique and they do not use any pesticides and chemicals to eliminate pests and insects that might destroy the books. They do however have a colony of resident bats that come out at night that eat the insects. There are 3 specific sections dedicated to books on religion, medicine & civil dating back to 16th, 17th & 18th century.

  • Fantastic historical place. Absolutely stunning. "No Photos" policy is outdated, unenforceable and counterproductive.

  • Stunning library, no pictures allowed inside sadly. Tickets are needed and there are specific times to enter.

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