lies in the heart of the Alentejo peneplain in the confluence of three major
river basins - Tejo, Guadiana and Sado -, its a millenary crossing point of
roads and commercial routes linking and still connecting the coast to the interior,
the north to the south.
region of Évora is an old territory with signs of human occupation since
unique geographic situation, could in part explain the importance of the city
since antiquity, a political and social center of all the civilizations that marked,
what the Portuguese territory is nowadays,.
the Roman period, Évora reached the status of municipality of Latin Right and
the honorific designation of Liberalitas Julia. This period was characterized
by a remarkable development on an economic and artistic level, as is evidenced
by the monumental vestiges that have survived to the present day.
epochs of Visigoth and Muslim domination, remain in large part obscure. The
city kept, however, its importance as a regional urban center. At the end of
the Islamic period the city was wide and populous: with two mosques, an intense
commercial activity and fertile greenbelts, with diversified agricultural
conquest of Évora in 1165 and its integration into the kingdom of Portugal was
a turning point in its history. The city will gradually assume the position of
main urban center in the south of the country, an important religious,
political and military centre.
first remarkable work of the Portuguese period was the Cathedral, an impressive
building that marks the surrounding landscape and is an incomparable architectural
example in the national Gothic. Throughout the Middle Ages the foundation of
churches and monasteries moulded the urban spaces, which grew along the ancient
ways to the city and beyond the old walls, whereas Praça Grande (today Giraldo)
became little by little, the main urban space. Moorish and Jewish quarters were,
in that order situated north and west of the old city wall.
expansion of the city forced the construction of a new wall in the fourteenth
century, which would be for centuries its physical limit.
King John I, Évora assumed an important role in the life of the country, being
frequent residence of the court and considered the second city in the country.
In the end of the fifteenth century the population was estimated around 10,000.
sixteenth century regarded as the city's golden century, would see the reconstruction
of St. Francis Convent, and the installation of the Royal Palace, the
foundation of the University and the construction of several churches and
palaces. The building of the Aqueduct of Água de Prata, changed the overall
image of the city, structuring various urban sectors and giving rise to the
opening of two new streets. In this period the urban structure was practically
defined, and the area within the walls almost fully occupied. The main urban
axis between Porta de Moura and Porta Nova was already established.
1637, a popular uprising challenging the policy of the Spanish crown erupted in
Évora – known as “Alterações de Évora”- spread
to other parts of the country and was seen as an omen of the Restoration of
Independence in 1640. After 1640 during the War of Restoration, a new defensive
system was built, consisting of a set of fortifications and Vauban ramparts.
closing of the University, after the expulsion of the Jesuits (1759)
represented a severe blow to the city, starting or accenting a process of
relative declining, which would continue until the twentieth century.
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the construction of large buildings
decreased, as the importance and prestige of the city come into decline, albeit
reconstructions and renovations in existing buildings has occurred.
the nineteenth and early twentieth century a set of interventions changed the urban
space: the total or partial demolition of large historic buildings gave rise to
new squares, streets, gardens and equipment (theater, post office, market). The
irreparable loss in terms of heritage, must be understood in view of the need
to adjust the city to the new functional requirements.