The fountain in Giraldo Square, formerly known as Terreiro or Alconchel Square in the 13th and 14th centuries and simply Praça Grande between the 15th and 19th centuries, replaced another one built there signalizing the terminal of the Aqueduct of Água da Prata in 1537, which ended here. It is known that the first fountain would certainly be a work worthy of the city, adorned with marble lions, and leaning against a Roman triumphal arch, then erected in the square. Its demolition had, as a single cause, the intention of Cardinal Infante D. Henrique to clear the space of the square, and the vision of the brand new Church of Santo Antão, designed to house the important collegiate of which he, as Archbishop of Évora , was by inheritance, the prior. Once the arch was removed, the remaining structures were collected at Colégio do Espirito Santo, where, according to tradition, there are still some columns.
This new fountain included in the Cardinal's plan to modernize the city center and particularly the former water supply structures built by King João III, was built in 1571 by the architect Afonso Álvares, master architect of Infante D. Henrique. Entirely built in white marble with circular design, consists of basement, trunk and bowl in the shape of ciborium, topped by a pinacular finish. Stand out eight ornamental mascarons that finish the spouts from where the water flows into the bowl. The royal patronage, of the work carried during the reign of King Sebastian, is marked by a crown with a cartouch alluding to this monarch, and completed with a commemorative inscription that reads SEBAS/ TIANO LVSIT REGI/ PIO FE / LICIS/ VICTO/ RIA.
With its prime location in the urban context of the city before the Church of Santo Antão and in the same square where at least between the fifteen and nineteen centuries, were held a daily market, an Annual Fair and the bullfights of the city, the Fountain in Giraldo Square has been one of the most important water supply structures for the population over the centuries. In addition to its utilitarian character, the evident monumentality of the fountain, even made it a symbol of Évora throughout time and above all as a mark of the urban renewal planned and carried out by Cardinal Infante D. Henrique.
IGESPAR, IP / 2011