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Encyclopedia > Évora
Map showing Évora District in Portugal

Évora is both a town and a district in eastern The Republic of Portugal (República Portuguesa), or Portugal, is a democratic republic located on the west and southwest parts of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe; it is the westernmost country in continental Europe. Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic... Portugal.



Évora (latitude 38.6º, longitude 7º54', altitude 300 m) is situated in Alentejo (south of Portugal). It is the chief city of the district and capital of Alto Alentejo Province.


· Aqueduto da Água de Prata (with its huge arches stretching for 8 km, this aqueduct was built in 1531-37 by King João III to supply the city with water)

· Cathedral 9-11.30am and 2-4.30pm (built in the gothic style, completed in the 13th century and with a 14th century ogival cloister; main entrance decorated with sculptures of the apostles; interior dating from the 17th and 18th C; includes the Sacred Art Museum)

· S. Brás Chapel only open for prayer (built in 1480 and a good example of moresque-gothic with cylindrical buttresses)

· S. Francisco Church 9-12am and 2.30-5.30pm (started along late gothic lines, it was not completed until the manueline period; contains the chapel of bones, a chapel drawing on religious baroque influences which is totally covered with human bones)

· Palace of Vasco da Gama (here Vasco da Gama resided in 1519 and 1524, the dates corresponding to his nomination as the Count of Vidigueira and Viceroy of India; remaining from that period are the Manueline cloister and some of the murals which decorate it)

· Palace of the Counts of Basto (primitive Moorish castle and residence of the kings of the Alfonsine dynasty; the wall of the palace displays features of the Gothic, Manueline, Moorish and Renaissance style of architecture)

· Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval (the palace is constitued by part of an old castle burnt in 1384; it is dominated by the architectural elements of the Manueline-Moorish period and by a tower called Tower of Five Shield)

· Loios Church 9-12am and 2-5pm (built in the 15th century, it was the pantheon of the kings and contains a number of tombs; the church and the cloister are gothic in style, with a manueline chapterhouse; the church interior is covered in tiles from the 18th century)

· Galeria das Damas do Palacio de D. Manuel (remains of a palace built by the Avis Dynasty on the 16th century in moresque-gothic-renaissance style; according to some chroniclers, in this plalace, in 1497, that Vasco da Gama was given the command of the squadron he would lead on his maritime journey to India)

· Roman Temple (called Templo de Diana, Corinthian columns)

· University of Évora Monday to Friday 8am-7pm (formely a Jesuit college built by Cardinal-King Henrique in 1559, it includes the 16th century mannerist church and the academic buildings surrounding the large 17th and 18th century cloister)

· Renaissance fountain at Largo das Portas de Moura (built in 1556 in renaissance style)

· Giraldo Square (center of the city; in this square King Duarte built the Estaus Palace which even today maintains its Gothic look; the fountain and St Anton's church are from the 16th century)

· Cromeleque dos Almendres 5 km from Évora (megalithic monument from the neolithic)

· Anta do Zambujeiro 15 km from Évora near Valverde (it is the larger dolmen in the region)


The Alentejo Province is a region of wide plains to the south of the Tagus River (Rio Tejo, in Portuguese). In the heart of this region, at a distance of 130 km from Lisbon, lies the city of Évora. Due to part of the town which being enclosed by ancient walls preserved in its original state and, to its monuments dating from various historical periods, Évora is included in UNESCO's World Heritage list. It was known by the Romans as Liberalitas Julia, and vestiges from this period (walls and rooms) and the monumental imperial temple (Diana's temple), still remain. During the barbarian invasions, Evora was under Visigoth rule. It occupied a space defined by a Roman enclosure that had been modified. In 715, the city was conquested by the Muslims.

Évora was wrested from the moors by Geraldo the Fearless (Sem Pavor) in 1166 and flourished as one of the most dynamic cities in the Kingdom of Portugal during Middle Ages. The court was resident here for long spells and Évora became the scene for many royal weddings and a place where many important decisions were made. Particularly thriving during the Avis Dynasty (1385-1580), it was formerly a major centre for the humanities. The university was founded by the Company of Jesus in 1551, and it was here that great European Masters such as Clenardo and Molina passed on their knowledge. In the 18th century, the Jesuits, which had spread intellectual and religious enlightenment since the 16th century, was expelled, the university was closed and Evora went into decline. The university was reopened in 1973.

The many monuments erected by the major artists of each period now testify to Évora's lively cultural, artistic and historical past. The variety of architectural styles (romanic, gothic, manueline, mannerist, baroque), the palaces and even the squares and narrow streets are all part of the rich heritage of this museum-city.

Today, the historical centre has about 4000 buildings and an area of 1.05 km².

External Links

[Taken with permission from: http://evunix.uevora.pt/~femi/porttow/evora.html]

[Map of the city: http://evunix.uevora.pt/~femi/porttow/mapa.htm]

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