Evora (about 55,000 inhabitants), is a city in central-southern Portugal located south of the Tagus river, about 140 km from Lisbon, and 80 km north of the city of Beja.
Evora is a city museum, which in 1986 was included in the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. This historic city is the ancient capital of Alentejo. The city, which is surrounded by the Manueline walls, has ancient churches, white Moorish-style buildings and Roman remains in its urban fabric.
Evora was founded by the Romans. But the city reached its peak in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the kings of Portugal. Evora’s monuments also had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.
Evora was founded in 100 after Christ, by the Romans, first with the name of “Ebora cerealis” and then with that of “Ebora Liberalitas Julia”. The city, like the rest of Portugal, over the centuries has seen the succession of different dominations: Roman, Visigothic, Arab. Between 750 and 1165 Evora was occupied by the Arabs.
During the 14th century the city was one of the favorite residences of the Portuguese nobility. At that time it became the second official residence of the kings of Portugal who lived in the Palacio Dom Manuel when they were in Evora. Evora in the Renaissance was an important cultural and artistic center of the country. Since 1559 it has been the seat of a famous university.
The city today has a remarkable diversity of architectural styles ranging from Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance, to Baroque.
WHAT TO SEE: THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF EVORA
One of the symbolic buildings of the city is undoubtedly the Roman temple. This building, which dates back to the 2nd century AD, stands on the highest point of the city in the praça Conde de Vilaflor. The temple, now called the temple of Diana, was probably named after the emperor, only 14 suggestive columns remain of the structure.
The Convent and the Church dos Loios, dating back to the 15th century, also overlook the praça Conde de Vilaflor. The church and cloister are in Gothic style, with a beautiful Manueline portal. Another Gothic-style building is the 15th-century Cadaval Palace.
THE UPPER CITY
The upper town is the oldest area of Evora. Here is the Praça do Giraldo, characterized by a beautiful 16th century fountain. The 16th century church of Santo Antao overlooks the same square.
The immense cathedral of Evora (Sé) is located on the site of a previous mosque, built between the 12th and 13th centuries. This religious building is externally a masterpiece of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, while the interior is Renaissance. Among the interesting things to see in the cathedral the Gothic cloister and the portico with statues of the apostles and the Virgin.
Interesting is also the visit of the lower part of Evora, where the baroque church of Espirito Santo, the University (1559), the Counts Basto palace (XVI century) in Manueline Gothic style are located. And finally the São Francisco church (XV-XVI century) in Manueline Gothic style inside which is the Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos), totally covered by human bones, and the church of Carmo.
In the outskirts of the city there are two interesting prehistoric monuments: the megalithic monument of the Cromeleque dos Almendres, which is located just 5 km from Évora. And the Dolmen of Anta Grande do Zambujeiro, 15 km from Évora. Another interesting structure is the aqueduct of Água de Prata, built between 1531 and 1537, 8 km long.