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Coimbra, Portugal

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COIMBRA was Portugal's capital from 1143 to 1255 and ranks behind only Lisbon and Porto in historic importance. Its university, founded in 1290, was the only one in Portugal until the beginning of the twentieth century. For a provincial town it has significant riches, and the many students provide Coimbra with a vivacious atmosphere during term-time – especially in May, when they celebrate the end of the academic year with the Queima das Fitas, a symbolic tearing or burning of their gowns and faculty ribbons. This is when you're most likely to hear the Coimbra fado, distinguished from the Lisbon …
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