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Evora is one of those places which runs away with time


Historic Évora , which attracts more visitors than anywhere else in Alentejo, is a place of culture listed by UNESCO as world heritage site.The celts were here, the Carthaginians passed through, but the first to leave a real mark were the Romans. The Visigoths followed the Romans early in the 5th century but their footprints have faded. Full of Moorish alleys, fine 16th century granite and whitewashed buildings, wrought-iron balconies and arcaded walkways, the old walled town of Èvora sits on a low rise and is still home to thousands, although the city has long since expanded beyond its medieval boundaries. The town  plan could have been inspired by a spider’s web with all roads leading to the centre, and it is around the centre that one can find most of the interesting monuments.

Praça do giraldo is the hub of the city if not quite the centre, and a good place to start a tour if only to pick up a street map at Turismo (local stand with tourism information for travelers). Parasol-shaded tables from nearby cafes are set out in the centre in summer adding to the atmosphere. We have also the cathedral with its ill-matched, squared twin towers. This grand Romanesque-Gothic structure, one of the finest cathedrals  in southern Portugal was built in 1186.

The nearby archbishop’s palace now holds the excellent town Museum. Ornate doorways and windows from the original royal palace of Dom Manuel and the royal church of St. Francis have been cleverly incorporated into the structure and form part of the exhibits.

Beyond the museum lies Portugal’s best preserved Roman monument, the Temple of Diana. It was built in the 2nd or 3rd century AD and, whilst its actual dedication is not known ,popularly assigned to Diana. Most of the podium remains but only the north end of the colonnade which once surrounded the temple still stands. The temple was apparently used as a slaughterhouse until late in the 19th  century and this may have helped with its preservation by preventing the stone being removed for other building projects.

Also, one of the main attractions for visitors here is the macabre 17 th century Capela dos Ossos (The Chapel of Bones), the walls of which are entirely covered by bones and skulls of Franciscan monks exhumed from a nearby cemetery. A Latin inscription over the door warns: “ The bones here are waiting for yours”.




                                      Portugal: travel around and find out the essence of the Land!