• Pedro Bessa

Évora, the museum city

Évora is a true museum city and a passion of Liscovery Tours. Surrounded by walls, we find there more than 20 centuries of history, which earn it the classification of World Heritage.

Celts, Visigoths, Romans and Muslims were some of the people who left their mark in this city, which is also the capital of Alentejo, the region with the warmest climate in Portugal.

To visit Évora is to go back to the memories of the Roman occupation, to go through the Muslim heritage in its labyrinthine streets, to admire the monumental heritage of medieval times and to live with a cultural richness that is reflected in the gastronomy, in the local traditions and in the sympathy of the population.

Évora has been inhabited since the 2nd century BC. During the Middle Ages, it was royal residence for long periods of time and gained prestige in the 16th century when it was elevated to an ecclesiastical city.

Despite the significant urban changes that took place over the centuries, Évora continues to bear witness to different aesthetic styles. The urban landscape of its historical center is considered by UNESCO as a unique place to understand the influence exerted by Portuguese architecture in Brazil, namely in places like the historical center of Salvador da Baía.

Because it was one of the few cities that did not suffer from the 1755 earthquake, responsible for the destruction of Lisbon, Évora is also the best surviving example of a city from the golden age of Portugal.

The best way to visit it is by walking its narrow streets to discover the monuments and details that reveal the history and wealth of heritage.

Conquered by the Romans in 59 B.C., who named it "Lideralitas Julia", Évora has in the Roman Temple (1st century AD) one of its ex-libris. A place of worship for the Emperor Augustus, it is today the best preserved Roman temple in Portugal, with 14 granite columns with Corinthian capitals and a marble entablature.

The other ex-libris of the city is the Cathedral. Its construction will have started around 1280 (XIII century) and finished in 1350 (XIV century). It is considered one of the most important cathedrals in Portugal, containing in its museum several treasures.

The best starting point for a walk through the historical center of Évora is the famous Giraldo Square, whose name pays homage to Geraldo Geraldes, the Fearless One, a Portuguese warrior who, in the 12th century, conquered the city from the Moors and offered it to D. Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal.

The Giraldo Square, in the heart of the historical center, is a meeting point par excellence with its cafes, esplanades, stores and the tourist office. In one of the extremes is the Church of Santo Antão and the fountain of marbles with eight spouts that represent the eight streets that lead there.

The route of the visit to Évora justifies the passage through the Temple and Roman baths, the medieval walls, the Cathedral, the Church of Grace and the Church of St. Francis, with its curious Chapel of the Bones, of three naves totally formed by human bones (XVII century).

They also deserve to visit the Museum of Évora and the University, the second oldest in Portugal, founded in 1599. Even today the city lives the joy of the university environment, continuing to be a center of culture and knowledge.

It is also worth taking a stroll through the romantic garden of the Palace of D. Manuel and visiting the Ermida de São Brás, already outside the walls.

Another attraction is the Cromeleque dos Almendres. It is the second largest stone circle in the world after the famous Stonehenge in Wiltshire (United Kingdom).

The Almendres Chromeleque is, however, two thousand years older than Stonehenge, dating from 4500 BC. It consists of 94 monoliths, located at the top of the Monforado Mountain. From there it is possible to have a unique and unmissable view over the city of Évora.

Here are some of the places in Évora that you can visit:

- Anta Grande do Zambujeiro

- Silver Water Aqueduct

- Évora Cathedral

- Fountain of Portas de Moura

- Convento dos Remedios

- Almendres chrome

- Hermitage of São Brás

- Church of Grace

- Church of Mercy

- San Francisco Church and Bone Chapel

- Church and Convent of Our Lady of Grace

- Saint John the Evangelist Church

- Menir dos Almendres

- City Walls (Cerca-Velha and Cerca-Nova)

- Cathedral Museum

- Évora Museum

- Museum of Handicraft and Design

- Clock Museum

- Frei Manuel do Cenáculo National Museum

- Paço de São Miguel

- Dom Manuel Palace

- Conventual Pastry Rala Bread

- Giraldo Square

- Roman Temple

- Roman Spas

- Sisebuto Tower

- University of Évora - College of the Holy Spirit