Rich with medieval history, Evora’s beautiful views and architecture take you back into the fourteenth century. As the capital of Portugal’s Alentejo region, Evora sits perched up on winding roads. It is rich in antiquity, scenery, and cuisine and only two hours by bus from Lisbon! Originally discovered by the Romans and taken over by the Moors, Evora has been influenced by romantic, gothic, manueline, mannerist and baroque styles. From its medieval cathedrals to its roman temples, Evora is an unforgettable city to explore. Here are a few reasons to discover the magic of this quaint city:
1. The Roman Temple
Right in the middle of town, you will find the Templo Romano, which is seen to be the best preserved structure on the Iberian Peninsula. Also known as Templo De Diana, it was named after the Goddess Diana and built around the first century A.D. in honor of Augustus. During the fourteenth century, the remains were incorporated into the Evora Castle, which in turn was able to help preserve the structure. Unfortunately, this space was then used to put civilians to death. Today the structure stands alone and is open for tourists to enjoy.
2. Praça do Giraldo
This charming plaza is considered to be the heart of the city. Historically used as a battle ground during the Spanish inquisition, the square is now a relaxing location for travelers to enjoy cafes and restaurants.
3. The Bone Chapel
“Capela Dos Ossos” is a small interior chapel located at the entrance of the Church of St. Francis. This historical monument stand out because its interior design is constructed of human skulls and bones. Built in the sixteenth century by a Franciscan Monk, the design was meant to symbolize that life is transitory. Inside, you will find a poem that discusses one’s existence, and phrases such as “Better is the day of death than the day of birth.”
4. The Jardim Publico
The public garden not only houses many different plants and vegetation to admire, but also immense history. During the nineteenth century is was an area used to play music, as seen with the ancient bandstand still standing in the garden. It also holds remains from the Manuel Palace, and is home to a flock of peacocks.
5. Evora Aqueduct
This site is one of the most technologically advanced for Evora. The structure was built by architect Francisco de Arruda in the 1500s, and was designed to provide water supply for Evora. The high-arched structure runs through the center of the city, and as a result, cafes and homes were constructed underneath the arches.
6. Whitewash-style homes
Amidst the many historical sites Evora lie beautifully painted homes set on winding cobble stone streets. Take a tour off the tourist path and get lost in the neighborhoods to enjoy the beautiful style of Evora households.
7. The Megaliths of Cromlech Almendres
Outside of the urban area you can find the unique circular structure of the largest existing group of menhirs in Europe. The complex was used for religious rituals. Several of the monoliths also display carvings that are presumed to be for astronomical exploration. The layout also shows signs of observing time and the coming of spring equinox and winter solstice.
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