Largo da Portagem (Toll Square)
Square in Coimbra
Largo da Portagem is the main square and the center of the city of Coimbra in Portugal , next to the Ponte de Santa Clara and on the banks of the Mondego river in the parish of São Bartolomeu.
Largo da Portagem, named after its historical use as an open place to collect tolls, which were levied on goods that arrived in the city from the south. It is a beautifully landscaped square made of white marble and stone, with green areas and flower beds.
In addition to its historical significance, the square is surrounded by ornate baroque and modern buildings, including the Bank of Portugal (which is not involved in toll collection) and the Astoria Hotel, both designed by architect Adaes Bermudes, the nephew of Costa Mota.
The square is connected to Coimbra’s Main Street, Caixa de Coimbra, and the pedestrianized Ferreira Borges Street, which is home to numerous commercial stores. It is a popular spot for May festivities celebrated by Coimbra University students, and when the weather is nice, nearby cafes and patisseries offer outdoor seating. The square is also well-lit at night, providing a charming atmosphere for evening strolls.
Statue of Joaquim Antonio de Aguiar
Joaquim Antonio de Aguiar, known as the “Friar-Killer”, was a Minister of Justice in Portugal after the civil war in 1834. He famously stripped all religious orders of their properties and awarded the proceeds to the National Exchequer. Joaquim’s statue which was sculpted by Costa Mota stands on a pedestal in the centre of the square.