Evora, capital of Alto Alentejo, city of an outstanding beauty, embraced by its fortress walls, filled with historic memories in each street, each home, each inhabitant…Its squares and monuments tell us national history, religion and culture episodes and its townsfolk are proud of both past and present times.
The natural beauty of this region combines with the monumental richness of this town-museum that nowadays is also a modern and touristy city, classified by UNESCO, since 1986, World Heritage. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, the archaeological landscape that surrounds the city presents important monuments, such as the Cromeleque dos Almendres (cromlech) and the Anta Grande do Zambujeiro (dolmen). Many were the ancient people that have been here, but the Romans were those who transformed Evora into an imperial town. They called it Ebora, named after Julio Cesar as Liberalitas Julia, and left several signs of their passage, from which the roman temple, known improperly as "Templo de Diana", stands out.
In 715 AD, the city was conquered by the Arabs but there are only a few archaeological evidences of that time. In 1165, Giraldo Sem Pavor (Fearless Giraldo), on a sudden incursion, took the city from the Moor, and that event was printed on the city coat-of-arms. The importance of Evora is undeniable along the centuries: during the Avis Dynasty (1385-1580) the city became the chosen place of the court, which settled here frequently, to the detriment of Lisbon or Coimbra. Cardinal King D. Henrique founded, in 1551, the Colégio do Espírito Santo (Holly Spirit College), which became the Evora University in 1559, when it received Rome's approval.
In 1759 it was closed by order of Marquês de Pombal, on the Jesuits expulsion, reopening again in 1973. As a reaction to the Filipes' dynasty domination, Evora became a battles' stage for the national independence. But after the throne was reclaimed, the court turned away from the city. Since the XX century, one can notice a rousing will to recover from the wasted time, restore the monuments and embellish the city. The historic centre of Évora, as a monumental ensemble of great historic and cultural value, was classified by UNESCO, in 1986, World Heritage.
1 - PRAÇA DE GIRALDO (Giraldo Square). Central Square within the historical centre. Arcades, shopping and church of Sto. Antão (XVI cent). Fountain and 5 de Outubro Street (arts and craft, restaurants and accommodations).
2- CATEDRAL DE SANTA MARIA (St. Mary’s Cathedral). Monumental Roman-Gothic building (XIII- XIV cent.). Cloister and Sacred Art Museum.
3 - LARGO CONDE VILA FLOR (Conde de Vila Flor Square). Ruins of the Roman Temple (Ist cent.). City Museum, Public Library, Loios Church and Convent (Pousada) (XV- XVII cent.). Palace of the Earls of Cadaval (XVI cent.). Horse and carriage tours.
4 - CASTELO VELHO (Old Castle). Late Roman walls (Old wall). S. Miguel Chapel. Palace of the Earls of Basto (Private). Streets of Freiria de Baixo and de Cima.
5 - UNIVERSIDADE DE EVORA / COLÉGIO DO ESPIRITO SANTO (University / Jesuit College). Holy Spirit Church (XVI cent.). Main cloister and the class rooms (XVIII cent.)
6 - LARGO DA PORTA DE MOURA (Moura´s Square Gate) Towers from the Roman Gate. Manuelina – Mudejar window from the house of Garcia de Resende (XVI cent.). Cordovil Manor House with a Mudejar balcony (XV- XVI). Misericordia Street. Mudejar balcony from Soure Manor House (XVI cent.). Shopping, services, restaurants.
7 - PRAÇA DO SERTÓRIO (Sertório Square). City Hall building (XIX cent.). Roman Baths (II, III cent.). Salvador Church and Convent. D. Isabel Arch (gate from late roman period). Arts and craft, shopping, accommodation, services.
8 - IGREJA DA GRAÇA (Church of Graça). Renaissance façade (XVI cent.). Convent Cloister (private). Caraça bystreet.
9 - LARGO DE S. FRANCISCO – PRAÇA 1º DE MAIO (S. Francisco’s Square). Royal church of S.Francisco (XV- XVI cent.). Gothic Cloister. Chapel of the bones (XVII cent.). Palace of D. Manuel. Municipal market(XIX- XX cent.). Centre of Traditional Arts (former arts and craft museum).
10 - PUBLIC GARDEN (XIX cent.). Palace of D. Manuel (surviving building from the monumental residence of the Portuguese Kings) (XVI cent.). Lost ruins (XIX cent.)With architectural Mudejar elements (XVI cent.). Medieval Walls (XIV cent.). Sixteenth century fortress.
11 - AQUEDUTO DA ÁGUA DE PRATA (Silver Water Aqueduct) (XVI cent.). Monumental (1533-37). Rua do Cano, Porta Nova, Rua do Salvador e Rua Nova. Giraldo Square fountain, Porta de Moura Square, Avis Square, Rossio de S. Brás. Water Tank from Rua Nova.
OTHER CITY TOURS
Jewish Quarters: Streets of Mercadores, Moeda and Barão Bystreet.
Moorish Quarters: Mouraria Street, Church of S. Mamede, Alcaçarias Street.
Joaquim António de Aguiar Square: Municipal Theatre Garcia de Resende.
Medieval Walls: Gates of Raimundo, Alconchel and Lagoa
Remédios Church and Convent (Periodic exhibition rooms).
Along the way shops, restaurants, accommodation and services.