Things to Do and See in Evora
Evora is a delightful Portuguese town that was originally founded by the Romans, fortified by the Moors and flourished during the 15th century. This extensive history has provided Evora with a variety of interesting tourist attractions and historical monuments. This guide will detail the main tourist sights and attractions of Evora.
The Roman Temple of Evora
Evora was an important Roman trading town and it is fitting that the city's finest monument is a beautiful preserved Roman temple. The Diana Temple is regarded as the best preserved Roman structure on the Iberian Peninsula but has had an eventful history since Roman occupation. Initially the temple was incorporated into Evora castle, later used a gallows during the inquisition, then converted into an abattoir and finally used as a lowly wood store. The historical importance of the temple was finally identified in the 19th century. The temple is incorrectly dedicated to the goddess Diana but this does detract a from the beautiful preserved column structure.
The Diana Roman Temple
Praca do Giraldo
The Praca do Giraldo is the main central plaza of Evora and is the heart of the city. The square is lined by exquisite examples of 16th century Gothic architecture while the simplistic Igreja de Santo Anto stands at one end of the square. The Praca do Giraldo is the place for visitors to come for a relaxing drink during the day or to sample fine food and wine once the sun sets. The square has not always been so peaceful, it was the main court of during the Spanish inquisition and it was the scene of numerous protests and rebellions during the early formation of Portugal.
The Bone Chapel
The bone chapel is the most ghoulish sight of Portugal and thus makes it one of the most memorable monuments of Evora. Inside the small chapel the walls are lined with bones of the long deceased, exhumed from the city's graves as the city expanded.
There are thousands of bones and skulls in the bone temple
The bones are not just respectively stacked but are integrated in the chapels design features, with human skulls forming decorative borders and bones as borders. The inscription above the door simply adds to the macabre atmosphere. One of the strangest sights of Portugal and certainly not for the faint hearted.
Things to See - Evora aqueduct
Evora aqueduct was one of the most advanced and technically challenging construction projects of the 16th century. The 9km long water system stretches from the nearest river and brought water to Evora. Outside of the city walls the aqueduct is formed of massive stone arches while inside the city houses and shops were constructed underneath the arches. The aqueduct originally ended in a large pool in the Praca do Giraldo but this was destroyed during the 17th century.
The massive stone Evora aqueduct outside of the city walls
Walking and getting lost in Evora
The main draw of Evora is the charm of the city itself and there is no better method to experience the city than by simply getting lost in the old quarter. Evora is a maze of immaculately maintained cobbled streets and traditionally painted houses. Along every street is a delightful shop, pretty building or small hidden church and these minor sights that are never listed in any guidebooks cannot be discovered without simply wondering around the city.
The pretty and traditional streets of Evora
Things to Do - The Museu de Evora
The Museu de Evora is the best museum in Evora and has a range of exhibits detailing the long history of the region. The exhibits are not limited just to one genre and the extensive collection includes archaeological artefacts (mainly Roman), artistic paintings and important historical items from Evora. The museum has good detailed descriptions of items and if you enjoy museums then this little one will not disappoint.
Exploring the Megaliths of Cromlech Almendres
The standing stones of Cromlech Almendres were constructed between 5,000-2,000bc. The complex is believed to be part of an important religious site and is regarded as the finest example of prehistoric monuments in South Western Europe.
The Almendres Cromlech are a good day trip from Evora
The stones were not simply placed in a formal arrangements, many of the stones are decorated with patterns and engravings which all adds to the mystery of the site. The poor public transport means that a rental car is needed to visit the site.
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