Built between 1772 and 1802 by the Italian architect João Antunes, it was originally designed to serve as a residence for King Joseph I and his court.
Today, the palace is home to two universities; The University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra) and Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra (Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra). It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique combination of history and architectural beauty.
The exterior façade features an ornate design with intricate details such as sculptures depicting religious scenes from the Bible and classical figures like Hercules. Inside, you will find grand marble staircases that lead up to impressive galleries adorned with frescoes painted by renowned Portuguese artists such as José da Silva Leal. You can also explore magnificent courtyards surrounded by columns topped with statues representing various saints.
One area not to miss is the Chapel Royal, which was built for Queen Mary I’s coronation ceremony in 1640 – here visitors can admire beautiful altarpieces crafted from gilded woodcarvings depicting scenes from both Old Testament stories and Christian legends. There are also several other chapels scattered throughout the palace, including one dedicated to St George – patron saint of Portugal – where you can view a 15th century painting depicting him slaying a dragon.
Other highlights include an art gallery containing works by famous Portuguese painters such as José Malhoa; plus historical artifacts related to science, technology & medicine housed at ‘Museu dos Instrumentos Científicos e Tecnológicos’ museum onsite too.