Evora: museums, churches and monuments
17 august 2016
What to see in Evora? Located less than a 2-hour drive from Lisbon, Evora is one of Portugal's best preserved medieval city, where Roman ruins, museums, monuments and churches are everywhere among the picturesque streets of the old town. Just outside the city, the Neolithic megaliths certainly deserve an additional stop.
Our day tour in Evora
, beautiful medieval city of Portugal, starts from the central Praca do Giraldo, a large square overlooking the 16th century church of Santo Antao and where there is an ancient marble fountain. Evora can be reached on a day trip from Lisbon, or can be easily visited during a longer itinerary throughout Portugal.
The interior of the church of Santo Antao in Evora
, one of the most important in the city, has three naves, the central altar and the side chapels realized in Baroque style.
In Praca do Giraldo
there are some statues made of recycled iron, a nice idea to use what has been trashed away.
It is said that all the streets and alleys of Evora lead to the central Praca do Giraldo and in fact, every point of the square is the starting point of streets delimited by white-painted houses decorated by ocher-colored lines.
is known for the presence of Roman ruins
, among the most impressive and best preserved in all of Portugal. In this photo, a Roman temple dating back to an era between the 2nd and 3rd century, commonly known as the Temple of Diana
(although not all the archaeologists agree on what divinity this temple was actually dedicated to).
Part of the historical center of Evora is crossed by the imposing aqueduct
Agua de Prata (silver water) that arrives in the city from the north-west. This aqueduct was designed by Francisco de Arruda and was completed around the year 1530, with the purpose of supplying Evora with running water. Subsequently, the ancient aqueduct of Evora was partly incorporated into the houses, with the function of a supporting structure.
The houses incorporated into the arches of Evora aqueduct
. A path of almost 9 kilometers (not circular) allows visitors to explore the aqueduct for its length, and information and maps are available at Evora tourist office.
Our excursion to Evora continues by visiting the church and the monastery of St. Francis
(Igreja de Sao Francisco), an impressive building in Gothic-Manueline style, completed around the year 1510 and dedicated to the homonymous saint.
More photos of St. Francis Church
Not far from the church of St Francis, the Igreja da Graca
is a church dating back to the 16th century and, although it was declared a National Monument of Portugal, it is currently closed (the adjoining monastery is used by the Portuguese armed forces as barracks).
Porta de Moura
is a square that houses an unusual Renaissance fountain, built with marble in the 16th century. The water flows from four taps placed around a sphere, ending in a large basin below.
Evora Se (cathedral of Evora
) is an imposing building that looks like more a fortress than a church. The construction work began in the 12th century, to finish more than 60 years later. Anyway, over the next centuries, the church has undergone numerous restorations and modifications.
The cathedral of Evora, with its 13th-century statues depicting the apostles, placed near the great portal of access to the church.
The delightful church of St. John
was erected in Evora in the year 1485 and is currently a private property. The interior walls of the church are covered with fantastic azulejos
(tiles of ceramic composing a huge mosaic) made in 1711, among the most spectacular in all of Portugal.
The splendid azulejos that completely cover the walls of the Church of St. John in Evora (Igreja de Sao Joao
Another picture of azulejos mosaic inside St. John church in Evora.
The beautiful sacristy, very well preserved, of the church of St. John in Evora, with azulejos dating back to 1754.
Adjacent to the church of St. John, the Convent Dos Loios
has been transformed into a luxurious pousada (a traditional hotel), and in the museum the visitors can see ancient books dating back to the 15th century and lot of interesting old things.
If you get to Evora with a private car, it's certainly worth making a short deviation in the surrounding countryside, among the cork oak trees
, for which Portugal is a world leader in its cultivation and transformation into lot of handicrafts.
The cork oak
is very common in Portugal: the tree only becomes productive at 20-30 years of age, while after each decortication (the removal of the bark, so, of the cork) it takes on average another 9 years before the new cork is ready for removal. The cork is then processed and used to produce mainly the typical caps for bottles of wine, but also to make lot of additional handicrafts, such as bags, purses or even jackets and ties.
About 20 minutes drive from Evora, the Neolithic megaliths
are an interesting diversion during any tour in the region. These prehistoric monuments were erected between 5000 and 7500 years ago and are among the largest and best preserved in Europe after Stonehenge.