A Miniature View of Portugal in Coimbra
We visited Coimbra for a few days on our drive from staying in the Douro River Valley back to Lisbon. One of the Coimbra points of interest recommended to us was a visit to Portugal Dos Pequenitos. We must have lost something in the translation. We thought that we had been told that this was a site of miniature monuments of Portugal. Instead the translation really means “Portugal For Little Ones”. But even if this is designed as entertainment for children, we thoroughly enjoyed the miniature view of Portugal in Coimbra.
Maybe we should have figured it out when we entered a miniature castle?
A History Lesson On Portuguese Exploration
The first part of the miniature view of Portugal in Coimbra provided a great insight into all of the places around the world that Portugal had explored or colonized. A big map showed the major routes of discovery travelled by the Portuguese. Standing proud in front of the map was a statue of Prince Henrique who had driven much of the exploration carried out by Vasco Da Game and others. We first heard about “Henry” when we were preparing for our visit to Cape Verde.
Looking at the map, we could see how much of the Portuguese travels we had done in the last year. As we travelled in India, there was regular evidence that Vasco Da Gama and the Portuguese had been there. Certainly our stops in Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores showed us how the Portuguese used the islands in the Atlantic as waypoints for exploring Africa and making it around the Cape in South Africa and on to India.
There were small displays set up for each of the countries. They included both countries that had gained independence (such as Brazil and Mozambique) and others still linked to Portugal (Madeira). Exhibits like Macau were large and detailed. Many displayed natives in local dress.
We were a bit disappointed with the Azores (Acores) display. It showed little of the vast natural beauty we found exploring the Azores Islands. But we did see the typical windmill they displayed when we were in the Azores.
Miniature Towns and Historic Sites
Moving on to the next part of the miniature view of Portugal in Coimbra, we found an intricate and fascinating view of many of the cities and historical sites in Portugal. The detail was exquisite.
We found miniature villages laid out. All facets of life in Portugal was covered. The detail in the small buildings was amazing. We had not been to most of the towns modelled but I am sure locals recognized key spots or scenes.
In the courtyard of the miniature chapel, we found a beautiful display of tile work. We loved with this intricate tile work when we toured in Porto.
Coimbra in Miniature
There was a large display that showed a miniature view of the main sites of Coimbra. We tried to match the display to things we had already seen. And wondered what we might still see as we explored Coimbra.
But as we looked at the beauty of Coimbra in miniature, we knew this town might warrant a return visit. We would not see it all in a short visit to Coimbra.
Statues and Gardens
As we wandered around the miniature view of Portugal in Coimbra we found a number of statues. They were found in garden settings. Some had plaques to tell you who they were and others just left us wondering.
We found a small building decorated with traditional Portuguese tiles. This reminded us of the beauty and art we saw everywhere when we visited Porto.
A Place For Children To Play
While we thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the miniature view of Portugal in Coimbra, it was clear that this was a place enjoyed by children. There was a small train that moved about from section to section.
The buildings were all tiny. Doorways required us to duck to get inside. There were some rooms that I was sure I would not fit in.
Everywhere we looked we could see children climbing up onto perches on the miniature buildings. Families posed for pictures.
If children got tired of the historical buildings, they could always find something to do. There was a full children’s playground and even ice cream stands.
Don’t Pass On A Visit
Even if you are not travelling with children, we would strongly recommend that you visit Portugal Dos Pequenitos. We found the miniature view of Portugal in Coimbra to be interesting and informative. The detail and artistry kept our heads swivelling. And it tweaked our curiosity to find the matching sites as we wandered around Coimbra.
Have you visited the miniature view of Portugal in Coimbra? Did you enjoy this site – with our without children?
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