Evora

Roman temple – Cathedral of Évora – Conventual Church – Convent of the Loios - Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval - Évora Museum (optional) - Cartuxa Wine Tourism (optional)

About the City

Topped by an imposing cathedral, Évora is laid out over a gently sloping hill rising out of the huge Alentejo plain. It guards its historic centre with a vast outer wall and represents a valuable cultural legacy that UNESCO has classified World Heritage. 


The city, with its narrow streets of Moorish origin contrasting with squares where the light floods in, holds two millennia of hsitory. Conquered in 59 B.C. by the Romans, they named it “Liberalitas Julia”. In this period, Évora gained great importance as can be witnessed from the remains of that time: the ruins of a fine temple dated towards the end of the second century, various parts of the wall and the gateway more recently called Dona Isabel in addition to the remains of thermal baths below what is now the Municipal Council building. 


Little remains of the Visigoth period (5th – 8th centuries). There then followed the Moorish period begun with the city”s conquest by Tárique. This lasted through to Christian reconquest in the 12th century.

Yeborah, as it became known, had already received an indelible Moorish influence, most clearly seen in the Mouraria neighbourhood. 
After the Reconquest, in addition to between the inner and outer walls, urban development moved beyond the city”s walls.

The city was home to the court of various Portuguese kings of the first and second dynasties. During this period it was endowed with various palaces and monuments, particularly during the reigns of kings João II and Manuel (15th and 16th centuries). 
Wander its streets and absorb the secret soul that a diverse range of cultural influences has laid down in this city of the World.

There are also excellent restaurants and bars, esplanades, arts and handicraft stores.

The Roman Temple and the Cathedral

The starting point on this itinerary is by Roman temple. Dating back to the second century, this is the jewel in Evora´s glittering crown. 
Many of the elegant columns remain intact rising up to finely decorated Corinthian points.

To the north of the temple, there is a garden that extends to the Roman wall. This is the place for panoramic views out over the huge Alentejan plain. 
To the south of the temple, located in the now restored building that used to be the convent of John the Evangelist (15th century), there is the charming surroundings of the Pousada dos Lóios (Lóios Country Hotel). Well worth a visit is the convent´s church with its entrance around the side. Built towards the end of the 15th century, the gothic door is an important feature along with the tiled finishings. 
The building enclosing the church is the Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval (also known as the Palace of the Five Shields) that used to be the residence of this leading Portuguese family. It was topped by battlements and flanked by two imposing towers and provides a fine example of a noble residence. In the quadrangular tower Fernando, Duke of Bragança, was imprisoned in 1483 accused of conspiring against king João II. He left only for his beheading in the Praça do Geraldo. 
In the palace, there is also the interesting Museum of the House of the Dukes of Cadaval.

Behind the Pousada (country hotel), the Marqueses de Marialva square is dominated by the imposing structure of the Sé de Évora which contains the Museum of Religious Art in one of its towers. 
Over in front, there is the former Palace of the Inquisition, founded in 1536. Over the pediment, there are the tools used by the horrific Inquisition. In Évora alone, over 22,000 people were condemned.

Moving past the Sé, in the Praça Conde Vila Flor, in the Episcopal Palace, there is the Museum of Évora which boasts a valuable art collection. 
On the right of the square there is the Casas Pintadas street. On this street, in a house currently home to Jesuit priests, Vasco da Gama, discoverer of the sea route to India, lived between 1519 and 1524. 
In the house, there is a small Manueline cloister decorated with frescos depicting mermaids and fantasy animals featuring the imaginative dimension to the voyages of Discovery.

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