While she was in Porto, the city and its landmarks found their way into her first book. In fact, travelers in Portugal are regaled with a Harry Potter walking tour. This sneak peek of a few of the tour stops will delight.
The Lello Bookstore
The Lello Bookstore in Porto is fantastic. The architectural wonder is one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. If you look closely, you’ll be reminded of Flourish and Blotts, the Diagon Alley bookshop at Hogwarts where students purchased their books and wands. The neo-gothic, art nouveau style palace for books was built in 1906. These days, however, visitors simply call it the Harry Potter Bookstore.
The Coimbra University Gowns
At Coimbra University, one of the world’s oldest universities, students wear long, black robes as part of the dress code. The sight of these students traversing the streets of Porto catches one’s attention, just like it caught the eye of J.K. Rowling as she was writing her best-selling book. The long black robes are called academic suits. It was a very strict dress code until about 100 years ago when it became optional. However, most students adore the tradition and choose to wear the gowns.
The Joanina Library
The library at Coimbra University is another gem. The Joanina Library was built in 1513, while the university itself dates back to 1290. It’s a world-renowned library that houses tens of thousands of bound editions from the 16th through 18th centuries. These marvels rest on fantastically carved, gilded oak shelves. The similarities between Hogwarts Library and this Portuguese marvel are found in the vaulted ceilings and the beautiful arches. And of course, in the stacks and stacks of books, the perfect place for cracking secret magic codes.