The Tribunal of the Holy Office was introduced in Portugal in 1536, and the first Inquisition was installed in the city of Évora in the Palace of the Inquisition. Throughout the times, the building underwent several works of enlargement and adaptation, that were transforming its configuration.
In the time of Cardinal King Henry the building was enlarged, and the jail was connected to the western wall of the Roman Temple, which had been transformed into a slaughterhouse during the Middle Ages.
Between 1622 and 1655, great works of expansion of the building and adjustment to its function were made again, being the final work of the moth of the Architect-Mor of the Inquisitions of the Kingdom, Mateus do Couto.
Currently, the Art and Culture Center, former Palace of the Inquisition, comprises 1200 m2 of temporary exhibition area and is a space dedicated to the promotion of artistic and cultural manifestations, with a special focus on contemporary art.
The built complex that integrates the Art and Culture Center, Painted Houses and the Meeting Center totals over 3000 m2 and results from a project to reclassify the patrimony of the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation under the partnership for urban regeneration – 21st Acrópole.