King John V of Portugal commissioned the Joanina Library in 1717. Baroque architect Gaspar Ferreira enlisted the best painters, guilders, cabinet-makers, and craftsmen to design the library’s three luxurious salons. The Joanina Library houses a collection of 250,000 books from the 15th through 19th century—some are even handwritten. But this library has more than just looks—its thick walls keep temperatures low enough to help preserve the historic texts within.

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This is a centuries old college where the students wear robes-ala Harry Potter-and it is very charming and interesting. The tour of the library is excellent. All in all a trip back in time-but with interesting students that are certainly of this time.

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