The Monastery of Santa Clara de Coimbra, popularly known as “Convento de Santa Clara-a-Velha” (Velha=Old), is located on the left bank of the river Mondego, parish of Santa Clara, in the city, municipality and district of Coimbra, in Portugal. It represents a moment of experimentation of the Gothic style in the country. Its foundation, at the end of the 13th century, is part of a context of gradual influence and acceptance of the Order of Friars Minor in the Court and in Portuguese society in general.
The life of the Monastery was marked, over the centuries, by successive floods caused by the floods of the Mondego, the first of which already in 1331, a year after the consecration of the temple, which announced a difficult coexistence with the waters. The solution found over the centuries was the successive elevation of the ground floor until, in the 17th century, the nuns were forced to build an upper floor along the temple and to vacate the lower one, which also happened in the other dependencies of the Monastery. However, the deterioration of living conditions led to the construction, on the initiative of D. João IV of Portugal, of a new building on the neighboring Monte da Esperança – the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova.
Definitely abandoned by the religious community in 1677, the old monastery came to be known as Santa Clara-a-Velha.