A visit to the Botanic Garden is like traveling around the planet earth without leaving the city. The plant collections which occupy every corner of the Garden take us on a journey to distinct latitudes and regions of the world, thus transforming the Garden into a living museum.
Located in the heart of the city of Coimbra since 1772, when it was founded by the then prime-minister Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo (Marquis of Pombal), the Botanic Garden covers a total area of more than 13 ha, most of which donated by Benedict monks.
Botanic gardens developed in Europe largely as a result of 15th century maritime expansion, as in coming into contact with exotic plants and animals the Europeans became interested in the study and applications of these novel floras. Garcia de Orta, for example, throughout his journeys to India, dedicated himself to the study of medicinal plants and published two relevant essays.
The 18th century brought about a revolution of minds and significant scientific progress, particularly in the field of Medicine. The Botanic Garden of the University of Coimbra, therefore, was created in order to complement Natural History and Medicinal Studies. The Garden Naturalists and botanists produced several scientific publications, namely Flora Lusitana by Avelar Brotero (1804) on Portuguese flora. This Portuguese scientist founded the first practical school for Botanical Studies.
The seed bank and associated seeds catalogue, published for the first time in 1868 and updated annually up until today, include several Portuguese and exotic varieties, whereby we have managed to preserve several endangered species. In this way the Garden has played an innovative role in nature conservation.
In educational terms, the Botanic Garden promotes environmental and cultural activities, by raising the awareness of environmental issues and promoting civic behaviour.
The Garden provides a peaceful and inviting atmosphere, filled with secret corners ready to be discovered.
The Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra is a member of Associação Ibero-Macaronésica de Jardins Botânicos and of Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)