Évora was already an important trading point in Roman times. Typical of the building method in Évora is the Mudejar style, a mixture of Roman, late medieval and Moorish forms. Significant buildings include the ruins of the Temple of Diana from the 2nd century, the early Gothic cathedral, the former royal seat Paço dos Condes de Basto, the university built in the 15th century in the late Renaissance style and the São Francisco Church with the bone chapel.
Historic center of Évora: facts
|Official title:||Historic center of Évora|
|Cultural monument:||Old town, i.a. with Roman traces such as the 14 Corinthian columns of the Temple of Diana and parts of the inner city wall and the outer city wall (14th century); with the early Gothic cathedral, the Franciscan church with ossuary, the churches of Santo Antão and da Graça (16th century), the Convento dos Lóios, Palácio dos Condes de Sortelha, the Palácio dos Duques de Cadaval (“Pentagonal Palace”) and the Casa Cordovil (16th century)|
|Location:||Évora, east of Lisbon|
|Meaning:||one of the most remarkable examples of a city from the golden age of Portugal and a “museum city” whose roots go back to the time of the Roman Empire|
Historic center of Évora: history
|2nd century BC Chr.||Conquest of Ebora by the troops of Decimus Junius Brutus|
|1st century BC Chr.||Naming “Liberalitas Julia”|
|714||Invasion of the Moors|
|1165||Conquest by troops under Geraldo Sem Pavor|
|1186||Start of construction of the cathedral (Sé)|
|1257||Confirmation of city privileges|
|1481||Construction of the São Francisco monastery church begins|
|1485||Construction of the fortress-like Ermida de São Brás|
|1551||Foundation of the university|
|1755||Closure of the Old University|
|1808||Conquest by French troops|
|1834||King Miguel’s deed of abdication signed in Évora|
|1918||Military revolt against the government of Sidónio Pais|
A city like a museum
A three and a half kilometer long protective wall from the Middle Ages surrounds the historic city center with its numerous churches and palaces. Within a radius of a few hundred meters, you can look back on the culture and history of bygone eras: Roman times, the Moorish phase, the brief sidelight of Manueline exuberance and finally some echoes of the Renaissance and Baroque. “In Évora,” wrote the Portuguese Nobel Prize winner for literature, José Saramago, “history is constantly present – in every street and in every square, in every stone and in every shadow. In Évora, the past could keep its place without stealing space from the present. ” Visit clothesbliss.com for Portugal sunbathing on the edge of Europe.
The urban center of the episcopal and university city is the Praça do Giraldo. It was named after the robber baron Geraldo Sem Pavor, “Gerald without fear”, the godfather who drove the Moors out of the city with his men in the 12th century. The marble Fonte Henriquina, the Heinrichsbrunnen from 1571, in the middle of the square is one of the most popular meeting places in the still rural-looking Évora. From the stately town villas around this rectangular square – they served the country nobility for a long time as city domiciles – it can be seen that Évora experienced a long-lasting cultural and economic heyday. High windows, wrought-iron balconies and arcades on antique columns adorn the multi-storey, pastel-colored houses.
In the somewhat austere Alentejo style, the Igreja de Santo Antão from 1557 rises up at the front of the square, which many contemporaries regarded as a symbol of horror, as Cardinal Dom Henrique stood on the pulpit in the unadorned hall church, who made a name for himself as the merciless Grand Inquisitor. Between this church and the Heinrichsbrunnen the victims of the Inquisition were executed until 1821. The Eborenses no longer think of these old stories when they enjoy their coffee with schnapps in one of the street cafes on the square.
The early Gothic cathedral, the Sé de Santa Maria, is one of the most beautiful places of worship in Portugal. The church, built from massive granite blocks, is more like a fortress than a house of God, the nave is flanked by two asymmetrical defense towers. The interior appears almost graceful, its red and white grouted columns, which reach up to 70 meters into the barrel vault, create a bright, friendly atmosphere. The mighty crossing tower, which is closed by a scaly tiled, shimmering helmet, also catches the eye – not an exotic idea of the Manuel style, but Gothic architecture. The roof terrace of the cathedral, which can be ascended from the Gothic cloister via a narrow spiral staircase, affords a panoramic view of the “museum city”.
The oldest building is the Roman Diana temple, which is in good company with the Igreja de São Evangelista in Mudéjar style and the former Eligius monastery from the 16th century, now a hotel. It was built between the 2nd and 3rd centuries and is the best preserved Roman temple on the Iberian Peninsula. In the Middle Ages it was walled up because a slaughterhouse was needed. Only rediscovered in 1870, fourteen of the original eighteen Corinthian marble columns were exposed again.
In the Rua da República stands the granite church Igreja Real de São Francisco, one of the most impressive Manueline buildings in southern Portugal. Above the entrance emblazoned next to a pelican – the symbol of King João II, which was supposed to unite worldliness and clergy – also the armillary sphere, an astronomical measuring device and the symbol of the world discoveries that were made under his successor Manuel I. Typical of Évora is the strongly Moorish Alentejar Mudejar style, a variant of the Manuel style. You can recognize it by the conical spire, the arcades and arched windows of the Casa Cordovil, which was built in the 16th century. The Igreja do Carmo, whose main portal is spanned by gnarled stone branches, also dates from the same century.