15 Jan Joanina Library – Coimbra
Constructed to exalt the monarch and the wealth of the empire, including the wealth of Brazil, the Joanina Library is, beyond a splendid combination of exotic materials, a safe book.
Built as a parallelepiped in height (to overcome the elevation difference), addorsed at the top of the Chapel, the main floor opens into a yard and houses the noble rooms, which are accessed by a monumental gateway with a triumphal arch and Ionian columns on the sides, as well as an opulent royal shield.
Inside, the visitor can see three large annexes in a row, and their intercommunication wisely reproduces the general scheme, driving the look to the monarch’s portrait, D. João V, created by the Savoyard painter Domênico Duprà.
The internal area is totally covered by bookcases which are meticulously decorated with Chinese motifs over a background alternating in shades of green, red and black, made by Manuel da Silva over 40 months.
This produces an effect of both harmony and everlasting variety, fomented by powerful decorative impact of the pavements and the ceilings, opulent allegories to the triumph of the University, which were imagined by António Simões Ribeiro and Vicente Nunes.
The Joanina Library is only 1 of the many reasons you should visit Coimbra. There are many others.