|Evora Capital of Upper Alentejo, 300 metres high, extremely hot in the summer and has an intense cold |
weather in the winter. It is dependent of hot south winds and cold north winds.
-We find marble and granite in this region. Evora district is the richest in marble quarries in Portugal (as well
as gilt wood in religious monuments).
-Centre of agricultural area: cattle, cork (the most important cork trees region in the world), olives, cereals.
-The whitewashed houses gave the city the name of white city.
-The walls were first started by Alphonse IV and finished by Peter I, Ferdinand I, Peter II and John IV.
-Evora has more than 30 churches and 23 convents.
-Called the "town museum". It was declared worldwide patrimony.
-The date of its foundation is unknown.
-It was important under the Lusitanians, Romans, Goths and moors. Because of its central position it has always been a strategic military point. Arabs,
Spaniards and French had to pass by Evora to reach Lisbon.
-The Romans made it a town called Liberalitas Julia. It had power to mint its own money. The temple and a part of the fortifications is all we've got from
-The Visigoths were here.
-The Arabs called it Yeborath, building walls, castle and mosque.
-Gerald, the Fearless, conquered the city from the Arabs in 1165 (he was called the Portuguese El Cid. With a small army he had to use a trick: during the
night, some of the soldiers, screaming and fighting, called the attention of the Arabs to one side of the town, while the majority of the army could easily
penetrate the town from the other side and then dominating them).
-Ferdinand I came here with Leonor Teles. Most of the aristocracy against Leonor left the city. The future king John I, illegitimate son of Peter I, stayed.
He had the approval of the common people and that didn't please the queen. He was sent to prison and sentenced to death. But they found out that the
sentence didn't come from the king and he was saved. After Ferdinand's death, the people of Evora, standing for John I, fought the members of the queen.
One of those members was an abbess, caught in the cathedral and dragged outside to Geraldo square were she was lynched and decapitated.
-The bravery of the people of Evora is shown in the battle of Tangier (although it was lost).
-It was in the end of the 15th century that Evora reached its zenith with Alphonse V and John II. Walls with more than 40 towers were built as well as
the churches of St Blaise, St Francis, St Lois and St Claire.
-Here in Evora started the fight between John II and the aristocracy when he wanted to reduce the privileges of the aristocracy. Some were decapitated in
Geraldo Square. The 3rd duke of Braganza family, Ferdinand, who had fought in Africa, came into conflict with John II. He was decapitated in Evora in
-In the XVI Th century, when Portugal reached its zenith in arts and letters, a large number of writers, painters, sculptors lived in Evora, making Evora a
-John III was called the king of Evora. He brought to Evora the Jesuits (just borne), the Inquisition (just borne). -Evora was attacked by Philippe IV
and the Napoleon troops. Took part in the fights between liberalists and absolutists. -The decline of Evora came with the abolition of religious orders.
-As was said, Evora was the dwelling place of artists in the 16th century: poets, Portuguese and foreign artists, preachers, etc.
-Cork, ceramics, rustic furniture.
-Built in the 2nd or 3rd century by the Romans.
-Traditionally called temple of Diana. But we don't know to who it was dedicated.
-Corinthian style columns. Marble bases and capitals. Granite shaft.
-In the 5th century was destroyed by the barbarians.
-In the Middle Ages was used as an armoury deposit (the spaces between columns were walled up) and a slaughterhouse.
-Restored in 1871.
University of the Holy Ghost
-Built from 1551 to 59 by cardinal Henry when he was archbishop of Evora as a school ran by the Jesuits.
-In 1559 the Pope promoted the school to the rank of University.
-John V helped this University but marquis of Pombal closed it when he expelled the Jesuits in 1759.
-It is now a Grammar school.
-Refectory (in the renaissance cloister): it has blue and white tiles which change to an infinite variety of colours according to light reflections and the angle
at which one looks at them.
-Adjoining the University there is the church of the Holy Ghost (also 16th century) with gilt woodwork and tiles (17th and 18th centuries).
-The biggest in Portugal (70 metres long). The last of the 12th century cathedrals.
-Built on the place of the acropolis of the town, facing the old roman road. From the rooftop we can see a marvellous view.
-Built from 1186 to 1204 under the 2nd king of Portugal, Sancho I in Romanesque-gothic style.
-Facade: two robust towers like in a castle. Portal with 14th century figures of the Apostles is considered to be one of the best of medieval decoration
(they seen to be talking to each other).
-Interior: It has many alterations, restoration work and additions. The last part to be constructed was the chancel in the 18th century. It has 3 naves, a
triforium, a crossing and a 5 chapel apse. The crossing is toped by a beautiful eight-side lantern tower.
The neo-classic main-chapel was made by a German, Ludwig. It has multi-coloured marble from Alentejo (Estremoz and Vila Viçosa), Sintra and Italy
(Carrara). There is a large image of Christ in cedar wood made by a Portuguese (M. Dias).
Transept with renaissance chapels (the left one made by Chanterenne).
In the middle of the central nave, on the left side, there is a gilt woodwork altar with a 15th century gothic statue of Our Lady of Conception or Our Lady
of the O. Women come here with their god-daughters to ask Our Lady to make the god-daughters as fertile as she was (or perhaps a little more since there
is so few people in Alentejo !). Our Lady of the O was abolished in the 16th century by "Concilio de Trento".
-Cloister: the most important 14th century gothic cloister in Portugal. Several tombs. St Peter chapel: 14th century Sarcophagus of the founder, Bishop
Peter IV with sculptures (St Peter, Virgin and Child, Virgin of O).
St Francis church
-Alphonse V (conqueror of Alcacer Ceguer, Arzila and Tanger), during a civil war against his uncle (Peter), settled in the 13th century Monastery that
used to exist here and had a royal palace built in the Monastery.
-The church was built by John II (his son got married here) where the 13th century monastery used to exist.
-Façade: anthropomorphic gargoyles.
-Interior: 36 metres long, 13 m wide, 24 m. high (very high).
No lateral naves but 5 chapels on each side.
High altar by P. Trillo, a Spaniard, made during Manuel I. Altar in marble and paintings by Flemish masters.
Transept: left: paintings of the Holy Sacrament and Calvary (1580). right: chapter house with 19th century glazed tiles depicting the story of the Calvary
and image of Our Lady of pain with six knives thrust into her heart. From here we get to:
-Chapel of Bones: built in 1629 with the bones of 5.000 people that came from the convents of Evora !! It's bristly! Above the entrance there is a sign,
which says, "We bones that are here are waiting for yours".