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Évora is an ancient Portuguese city, located in the Alentejo region with one of Portugal’s historic centers richest in monuments. The city of Évora was nicknamed the City-Museum due to its historic center, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1986. Évora has a history of more than five millennia, with Neolithic settlements such as Castelo de Giraldo, inhabited continuously from the 3rd millennium to the first millennium before Christ, and megalithic monuments that we can visit, such as the Anta do Zambujeiro and the Cromeleque dos Almendres. The medieval city of Évora is surrounded by the medieval fence of Évora, some 14th century walls with an approximate length of 2 thousand meters, and an area of 100 thousand square meters, with Roman defensive towers from the 2nd or 3rd century.
Places to visit in the center of Évora (top 25)
1. Évora Historic Center
Évora Historic Center: classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1986, it consists of the city surrounded by medieval Évora fence. Within the walls of the medieval fence of Évora we find a city defined by labyrinthine streets between historic buildings, low houses of traditional Alentejo architecture, well painted, with yellow and gray colored bands, balconies with ironwork fences, tile roofs and narrow streets paved with natural stone, where we find monuments in abundance. Praça do Giraldo marks the center of the old city, with several restaurants, shops, the church of S. Antão, the tourist office of Évora and the Chafariz da Praça do Giraldo a white marble fountain, classified National Monument, which marks the center of the old city of Évora in Praça do Giraldo. The fountain is decorated with eight fountains that symbolize the eight streets that connect to the Giraldo square. In the historic center of the city we also find the Capela dos Ossos, the Convento dos Lóios, the São Francisco Church, the Dom Manuel Palace, the Évora Cathedral, Évora Roman Temple (known as Diana Temple), Évora University, restaurants and traditional shops and much more …
2. Roman Temple of Évora
Roman Temple of Évora: also erroneously known as Temple of Diana, it is a Roman temple from the 1st century that remains from the forum of the city of Évora. With a markedly imposing appearance in the city center, it was built over two centuries, located in Largo Conde de Vila Flor, it is the most visited monument in the historic center of Évora. The Roman Temple of Évora is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, classified as a National Monument. During the “barbaric” invasions in the 5th century, the temple was destroyed, while in the 14th century it served as a butcher and stronghold for the castle of Évora, having been remodeled in the 19th century. From the Roman Temple of Évora, the 4 meter high podium remains in granite stonework, part of the colonnade with 14 columns, of which 12 are complete, in white marble stone from Estremoz, and vestiges of the staircase. Recent excavations have revealed that the Temple was formerly surrounded by a monumental portico and a mirror of water. The Roman Temple of Évora was considered for a long time a dedication to Diana, goddess daughter of Jupiter in the Roman Empire, however it is now more consensual than the temple of Évora is a dedication to the cult of Emperor Augustus.
3. Chapel of Bones
Capela dos Ossos: it is an impressive chapel with walls and pillars lined with thousands of bones and skulls, and mummies exposed in glass aquariums, coming from the burial spaces connected to the convent . The Chapel of Bones is located in the Church of São Francisco, built in the 17th century, with the intention of reflecting on the transience of human life and the consequent commitment to a permanent Christian experience. The chapel ceilings are decorated with illustrations representing biblical passages and instruments of the Passion of Christ, dated 1810. When visiting the chapel, we are invaded by countless sensations, due to the unusual nature of being surrounded by so many bones … for some it may be a little scary, simultaneously super interesting!
The message we found at the entrance is allusive to the thought: “We bones that are here for yours are waiting”.
4. Évora Cathedral
Sé Catedral de Évora: or Sé Basilica of Nossa Senhora da Assunção, is a Romanesque and Gothic style cathedral, classified as a National Monument, located on the highest top of the city of Évora. The Sé Catedral was built in granite stone during the 12th and 12th centuries, and was awarded the title of Basilica Minor by the Pope Pius XI in 1930. The magnificence of the Sé Cathedral is remarkable abroad with the facade, the bell tower, the portico with the Atlantean figures of the Apostles, and the lantern tower, being the ex-libris of the cathedral visible as the highest point of the whole city of Évora. The interior of the Sé Catedral is equally imposing, the naves of the church 80 meters long, marble statues, the pipe organ, the chapels, the marble altar and chancel, and the richly ornamented cloisters. In the Museu de Arte Sacra, located in the former Colégio dos Moços do Coro da Sé, in the building of the Sé Catedral de Évora, we can see some pieces of sacred art namely collections of jewelery, vestments, painting and sculpture and a sculpted triptych in ivory representing the life of “Nossa Senhora do Paraíso” in nine episodes. The panoramic view from the top of the cathedral over the city and its surroundings is magnificent, giving us the perception of the city of Évora, its limits and the fields on the horizon.
5. São Francisco Church
Igreja de São Francisco: it is a 16th century Manueline style church, classified as a National Monument. The primitive church was initially founded in the 13th century, it was remodeled at the end of the 15th century until the 16th century, becoming known as Convento do Ouro during the 16th century until it was handed over to the Third Order of Penance of San Francisco. Currently the church is one of the most visited attractions in Évora due to its magnificence and history, and for hosting the Capela dos Osso and the Núcleo Museológico created in the old dormitory of the friars with a collection of paintings, jewelery religious and sculptures from the 16th to the 18th centuries existing in extinct ebonense Franciscan convents.
6. Silver Water Aqueduct
Água de Prata Aqueduct: it is one of the few aqueducts of the 16th century still in operation. Built at the behest of King D. João II, it is classified as National Monument, it is part of the Historic Center of Évora included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage, and part of the biennial list of World Monuments Watch. The Água de Prata Aqueduct has an extension of 18 km, it was built with the objective of supplying the city of Évora with water from the springs of the lands of the Convento São Bento de Castris, in the parish Graça do Divor. Along the 18 km long, the Água de Prata Aqueduct travels through forests, cork oak forests, cultivated fields until it enters the city of Évora, creating landscapes of unique beauty in harmony with nature and within the city, where we find the houses built in the arches of the aqueduct. It is an excellent attraction to photograph along a walk for several kilometers.
7. Évora Public Garden
Évora Public Garden: it is a garden of romantic architecture from the 19th century (1866) included in the historic center of the city, with 33 thousand m2 located in the south of the city of Évora. Here we find large trees, swans, ducks and peacocks, kiosks, shady places, garden benches, picnic tables, children’s playground, water fountains, and historic buildings, namely the Fingidas Ruins. The garden is circumscribed by a large stretch of the old Fernandina wall. We can access the garden through Rua da República, through Largo de São Francisco, and through Rua do Raimundo.
The Finged Ruins are a Gothic monument, recreation of false ruins of an imaginary two-story palace, initially created as a walking space for the Évora Public Garden by the architect José Cinantti. The Fingidas Ruins are composed of Moorish windows, shutters and Manueline columns, originating in the remains of a medieval tower reused from ruined architectural structures or that had previously been demolished from the Vimioso palace next to the Cathedral of Évora, former residence of the bishop d ‘ Évora, D. Afonso de Portugal. The Fingidas Ruins are composed of a staircase leading to the tower, where we can access the viewpoint over the Évora Public Garden.
8. Clock Museum – Pole of Évora
Museu do Relógio – Pólo de Évora: it is an extension of the museum of Relógio de Serpa, a museum with a collection of 2500 mechanical watches dated from 1630 to the present day. The Évora pole of the Museu do Relógio has a collection of 500 watches, located in the Palácio do Barrocal, in the center of Évora. The Clock Museum is recognized as the only private, self-supporting museum in Portugal. It offers clock restoration services to the public through the Master Watchmakers in its restoration workshop. The Clock Museum also designs and produces mechanical watches under the brand “Clock Museum” in partnership with German and Russian manufacturers.
9. Graça Church
Igreja da Graça: also known as Convento de Nossa Senhora da Graça, it is a Renaissance style church from the beginning of the 16th century, classified as a National Monument. The church is located in the center of the historic city of Évora. In its spectacular facades we can glimpse the Atlantean figures of “Meninos da Graça”. Since the cessation of the extinction of religious orders in Portugal in 1834, the church of Graça was nationalized and transformed into a military barracks, as it currently stands.
10. Évora Museum
Museu de Évora: or Museu Nacional Frei Manuel do Cenáculo is a museum with a collection of 20 thousand pieces that vary between archeology, painting, sculptures, jewelery, and other themes. Here we find the “Políptico da Sé de Évora”, a painting composed of 13 oil paintings dating from 1495 to 1510, considered one of the main examples of Flemish art in Portugal. The Évora Museum is located in the center of Évora, in the old episcopal palace, opposite the Roman Temple of Évora.
11. Santa Maria Scala Coeli Monastery
Monastery of Santa Maria Scala Coeli: known as Convento da Cartuxa, it is a monastery from the 16th century, with an architectural richness composed by the largest cloister in Portugal, with 98 meters, the portico and facade in marble, and the gilded altarpiece, classified as a National Monument. The Monastery has been a place of habitation and prayer for monks since 1598. In 1834 they were expelled by the revolution of the extinction of religious Orders, the monastery being transformed by the Portuguese state into a school of agriculture, and the church into a granary. In 1871 the ruined Cartuxa Monastery was purchased by the Eugénio de Almeida family. Over time, it was restored and in 1960 the monks were invited by the founder of Fundanção Eugénio de Almeida to resettle, turning the Monastery of Santa Maria Scala Coeli, Convento da Cartuxa into a place of prayer and contemplation in Évora. Convento da Cartuxa is located 1 km north of Portas da Lagoa in front of Aqueduto da Água de Prata, next to Quinta de Valbom, Adega da Cartuxa, a winery with tradition in school and university education since the 16th century, and wine and olive oil production, where currently wines of excellent quality are recognized in Portugal and internationally, namely Vinea Cartuxa, EA, Foral de Évora, Cartuxa, Scala Coeli and Pêra- Lame.
12. Alentejo Wine Route
Alentejo Wine Route: Tasting Room is a wine tasting space located on Rua Rua 5 de Outubro, nº 88, next to the Évora museum in the center of the city of Évora. Évora is fully integrated into the Alentejo Wine Route, a map composed of a tourist circuit with points of interest related to the visit to wine cellars, history of Alentejo wines, information of interest on wine production in Portugal.
13. Church of the Holy Spirit
Igreja do Espírito Santo: it is a 16th century church, with an imposing facade, located in Largo dos Colegiais, historic center of Évora, part of the building of University of Évora. The church has an educational, Mannerist and Baroque religious architecture, with an interior with high choir and side chapels decorated by tiles, Mannerist, Baroque and Johannine gilded altarpieces.
The Universidade de Évora, located in the same location as the Igreja do Espírito Santo, is a traditional university with the right to use “cape and cassock” since the 19th century by Queen Dona Maria II. The University of Évora was founded under the name Universidade do Espírito Santo in 1559, being the second university to be created in Portugal, after the University of Coimbra. It started as the Colégio do Espírito Santo founded by Cardinal D. Henrique, and soon D. João III founded the University of Évora with the consent of Pope Paul IV, with the right to teach all subjects, with the exception of Medicine , Civil Law and the litigious part of Canon Law, which would already be taught at the University of Coimbra. In 1973 it was named Instituto Universitário de Évora, and in 1979 it won the title of University of Évora.
14. Igreja da Misericórdia
Igreja da Misericórdia: it is one of the most beautiful churches in Évora, despite having a discreet facade, the interior is imposingly decorated with blue and white tile panels on the walls, overlaid with oil paintings with representation Acts of Mercy, and gilded altarpiece. The church is located in Largo da Misericórdia, near the Cathedral of Évora.
15. São Tiago Church
Igreja de São Tiago: it is a small church of Baroque architecture from the 17th century located in the center of Évora, between Rua de São Tiago and Rua de Dona Isabel. The church is very discreet on the outside, however the interior is extremely beautiful and simple, with the sides decorated with tile panels and the vault decorated with fresco paintings.
16. Pátio de São Miguel • Eugénio de Almeida Foundation
Pátio de São Miguel • Fundação Eugénio de Almeida: is the headquarters of the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, composed of a set of buildings located at the highest point in the historic center of Évora, in a defensive historic location. Those that we can visit today were recovered in the 15th century, and fully restored in the 20th century by the Eugénio de Almeida family. Paço de São Miguel also known as Palácio dos Condes de Basto, is an imposing architectural palace composed of Gothic portals, 16th century galleries, Manueline-Mudejar style windows, interiors with ceilings decorated with magnificent frescoes 16th century, and pleasant gardens. Historically, the Pátio de São Miguel was reinstated in the Crown as a royal palace, serving as an inn for all kings up to D. Duarte. Currently it is a cultural attraction where we can visit the Paço de São Miguel, the Ermida de São Miguel, the Eugénio de Almeida Archives and Library, the Carriage Collection, the garden and the cafeteria with a terrace with pleasant views. The Pátio de São Miguel is owned by the Fundanção Eugénio de Almeida, a Portuguese institution of private law and public utility, created by testamentary disposition of Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida. The Foundation is headquartered in Évora, a building whose statutory purposes are materialized in the cultural, educational, social, and spiritual domains, aiming at the full, integral and sustainable human development of the Évora region.
video about Pátio de São Miguel • Fondazione Eugénio de Almeida
17. Lóios Convent
Convento dos Lóios: or Convento de São João Evangelista is a Manueline-style National Monument church built in the 15th century on the ruins of a medieval castle, located opposite the Roman Temple of Évora . The main attraction of the Convento dos Lóios is the interiors covered with tile panels from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the building adjacent to the Convento dos Lóios, the Pousada do Convento dos Lóios de Évora was created, a charming hotel with two suites and 31 rooms in the places where the former Cónegos Regrantes Cells existed. The monks’ former refectory is now the breakfast and meal room.
18. Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval
Palácio dos Duques de Cadaval: known as Palácio Cadaval or Palácio das Cinco Quinas is a 14th century manor house with a Mudejar, Gothic and Manueline style architecture, built on the Roman walls -visigods from the old Évora Castle. The Cadaval Palace is located in the historic center of Évora, opposite the Roman Temple of Évora. It is owned by Casa Cadaval, composed of the Palácio do Cadaval and the Igreja dos Lóios, owned by the Dukes of Cadaval. Currently we can visit the Palace of Cadaval and see some temporary art exhibitions, the collection of illuminated codices, sculptures, paintings and armory, with pieces dated between the 15th and 18th centuries, and visit inside the Jardim do Paço where we can enjoy the terrace of the restaurant with the same name Jardim do Paço.
19. Art and Culture Center • Eugénio de Almeida Foundation
Art and Culture Center • Eugénio de Almeida Foundation: is a center with temporary artistic and cultural exhibitions installed in a refurbished heritage building in Évora, comprising the Palácio da Inquisição, the Casas Pintadas and the Center for Art and Culture. The Art and Culture Center is spread over an area of 1200 m2, with 2 exhibition rooms, an auditorium, multipurpose rooms, a meeting and conference center, restaurant, cafeteria, wine bar and shop. Outside the center we find the Páteo de Honra and the gardens, including the Jardim das Casas Pintadas with fresco paintings from the 16th century, a palatial mural painting unique in Portugal that depicts imaginary figures represented with dragons, centaurs and mermaids, birds, leopards, foxes, deer and roosters, recreating a world full of symbolism in an area of more than 3000 m2. The space is classified as a Property of Public Interest. The Centro de Arte e Cultura is located opposite the Jardim de Diana in the historic center in Évora.
20. Diana’s Garden
Jardim de Diana: is a small garden located in front of the Roman Temple of Évora, with spaces of shade, the figure of Liberalitas Júlia, representing the personification of the Roman designation of Évora to worship the bust in homage to Dr. Barahona, a former eborense who contributed a lot to the restoration of the monuments of the city of Évora, namely restoration of the Chapel of S. Brás, the repair of the Água da Prata Aqueduct, the construction of the Market and the Spa, the foundation of the band Amadores de Música Eborense, the foundation of the newspaper Notícias de Évora, donation of its collection of statuary to the Museum of Évora and a decisive contribution to the construction of the Garcia de Resende Theater, among other initiatives of patronage support. Here we also find a fountain with “O Beijo”, a marble sculpture located in the Miradouro do Jardim de Diana, a place from where we can admire the landscape from the roofs of the Évora houses and the rural landscapes in the background.
21. Évora Public Library
Évora Public Library: is a library located in a 17th century building next to the Convento dos Lóios. The Évora Public Library has two centuries of history, founded in 1805, it is considered one of the richest and oldest libraries in Portugal, with a rich collection composed of 664 incunabula and 6445 printed books from the 16th century, several handwritten documents, cartography, sheet music and more than 20 thousand titles of periodical publications and a bibliographic collection of 612 thousand volumes.
22. Doors of the Castle of Évora
Doors of the Castle of Évora: allow entry into the Fernandina Wall of the city of Évora, are composed of the Gate of Alconchel, the main gate of the city, protected by two large turrets, the Gate of Avis, the Porta de Mendo Estevens or Porta do Moinho de Vento, the Porta da Alagoa defended by a tower. The Porta do Raimundo was demolished in 1880, and today there is a symbolic representation in marble located 75 meters from the old location.
23. MADE • Museum of Crafts and Design in Évora
MADE • Évora Handicraft and Design Museum: it is a museum with the collection of the old Handicraft Museum / Center for Traditional Arts, with the aim of safeguarding the traditional crafts of the Alentejo, adapting them to modern design. MADE is a partnership between the Regional Tourism Entity (ERT) of Alentejo, the Municipality of Évora and the collector Paulo Parra.
24. Aeródromo Municipal de Évora
- Aeródromo Municipal de Évora: is the aerodrome located 3.5 km south of Évora, considered one of the most complete aerodromes in Portugal, with Rescue and Fire Fighting Service, the Service of Aerodrome Brigade, Skydiving Center, Free Fall School, Pilot School and Repair Shops. The Aeródromo Municipal de Évora was considered the best aerodrome in 2005 in the type II category at national level.
Places to visit near Évora
Castle of Monsaraz
Monsaraz Castle: it is considered a open sky museum, a fortified medieval village with three bastions, surrounded by a stone wall of schist and granite. The village is situated in a spectacular location, on a high hill above the plains of Alentejo and the lake of the Alqueva dam. The access to the village can be done through Porta da Vila an entrance to the northwest where we find the bell tower; through the Port of Évora; through the Porta da Cisterna or Porta do Buraco; and the Porta da Alcoba. Upon entering the fortified village, we felt the sensation of going back in time, with the floor in natural slate slab, the typical one-story houses with thick whitewashed walls, and small windows, built along the streets excavated from the original rocks. Along the streets we find houses, craft shops and local shops, restaurants with traditional cuisine, and a center with the Pelourinho de Monsaraz, the Igreja da Misericórdia, and the Nossa Senhora da Igreja Lagoon. At the southwest end of the castle we find the viewpoint of the Castle, from where we have a panoramic view to lose sight of the Alentejo fields and the lake of Alqueva. Monsaraz Castle has always been a sentinel point on the Guadiana River.
River beach of Monsaraz
Monsaraz river beach: it is a river beach guarded with extensive sand area, shaded area, emergency room, located in Albufeira do Alqueva, 4 kilometers from Monsaraz. Here we find the Centro Náutico de Monsaraz, with support infrastructures consisting of a bar and restaurant, a ramp to place boats in the water, anchorage, public bathrooms, public showers, children’s playground, picnic area and island ecological. At the Nautical Center of Monsaraz we can rent equipment several for water fun, a 1913 meter Dutch sailboat with 17 meters, semi-rigid boat, smartkat sailing catamarans, and rowing boats, all for excursions by boat through the Alqueva reservoir.
Castle of Estremoz
Estremoz Castle: it is a castle located in an important medieval Alentejo fortress classified as National Monument, dating from the 12th century, located on the hill of the city of Estremoz. Inside the stronghold, we can visit the Gothic and modern castle of Estremoz, transformed into the luxury hotel Pousada da Rainha Santa Isabel, the imposing 27-meter-high Main Tower, the Paços do Concelho Medieval or D. Dinis Gallery (the place where Queen Santa Isabel died in 1336), the Chapel of Queen Santa, the statue of Queen Santa Isabel, the mother church of Estremoz (Church of Santa Maria), the Municipal Museum Professor Joaquim Vermelho, and the medieval walls with adarve that serves as a viewpoint over the Alentejo plains and over the contemporary city of Estremoz. The Cerca da Vila, and the Torre de Menagem of the Castle of Estremoz were built to increase the defense of the village during the reign of D. Afonso, after the charter of 1258 to the village. During the reign of D. Dinis, the construction of the walls continued, and the Royal Palace was also created next to the castle. The Torre de Menagem was only completed around 1370 during the reign of D. Fernando de Portugal. From the fence of the village we can stroll through the stone streets with traditional houses built over the past centuries.
Fluviário de Mora
Fluviário de Mora: is a fluviary located in the Ecological Park of Gameiro, in the parish of Cabecção. The Fluviário de Mora is composed of a set of aquariums dedicated to freshwater ecosystems, with the exposure of habitats representative of the course of an Iberian river, from the source, through the mouth, to the sea. Fluviário de Mora has scientific and pedagogical programs presented along several themes, namely, Lontrário, the Saramugo room, the Monstros do Rio room, the Multimedia Exhibition room, the classroom, an auditorium, and the Exotic Habitats room, with species of the Amazon River and the African Great Lakes. It is a special attraction for families and children, a special place to learn about nature. Near the Fluviário de Mora we can visit the village of Mora, where we find the Interactive Museum of Megalithism, a museum located in the old train station in Mora, awarded with the “Best Public Project” award, where we can discover the megalithic heritage of the Municipality of Mora through three spaces representative of the daily lives of the populations, dedicated to the theme: “Life, Death and Contemplation” through a 3D video that portrays life in a Neolithic village.
Gameiro Ecological Park
Parque Ecológico do Gameiro: it is a natural park that involves the Fluviário de Mora in the village of Cabecção, where we find a river beach, camping site, picnic area, children’s playground, bar / cafeteria, Gameiro wooden walkways along the Ribeira da Raia, playground and Environmental Interpretation Center. The Gameiro Ecological Park is a great place to enjoy a day in nature, with a football field, coffee shop, showers, plenty of shade, in a clean and careful environment.
Cromlech of the Almendres
Cromeleque dos Almendres: is a natural monument located in Évora in the parish of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe. This 7,000-year-old cromlech is considered one of the largest megalithic monuments in Europe and the most important in the Iberian Peninsula. Composed of relatively small phallic or star-shaped monoliths arranged on the plain, this cromlech creates a mystical environment, reminiscent of the Iberian pagan cult, and transports us to the Polished Stone Period. Some of the menhirs are visibly decorated with inscriptions and reliefs on the stone, which refer to various markings, including anthropormophic figures and solar discs. This place offers an idyllic setting for lovers of natural beauty, as well as the observation of the night sky and the practice of astrophotography with little light pollution thanks to its location.
Paço Ducal of Vila Viçosa
Paço Ducal de Vila Viçosa: it is a palace and museum located in Terreiro do Paço de Vila Viçosa, district of Évora. The 16th century building has a façade richly covered in marble from the region, in a Mannerist style, still containing Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and typical features of civil and residential architecture. Perfectly preserved, this building has more than 50 visitable rooms, richly decorated and where diverse pieces are displayed, from collections as different as armory, jewelery, gala vehicles and ceramic pieces. One of the most prominent floors is the Noble Floor, the place where we find the richest collections, as well as walls and ceilings widely decorated with paintings of the time, which recreate a game of color and history. Tapestries, sculptures, tiles and frescoes are also part of what we find on a visit to Paço Ducal in Vila Viçosa. This palace was formerly the headquarters of Casa de Bragança.
Castle of Évora Monte
The Castelo de Évora Monte: is a 12th century monument located in the parish of Évora Monte (or Evoramonte). Located in one of the highest points of the Serra de Ossa, with a unique architecture, with Gothic and Renaissance features, transfer to the castle of Évora Monte interesting and unique visual contours. In addition, it is the only Iberian castle that combines both a Renaissance palace and a war-defensive structure. The Italian inspiration of its architecture is reflected in a mostly granite stone castle, with a square plan with circular turrets at its vertices. The fact that some of its structures date from later times, including the 14th and 15th century, also bring aesthetic elements that refer to other architectural styles, as we can see in the details of the oragos, turrets and inscriptions that adorn the doors and wicket. We highlight a rich natural and telluric surroundings, in addition to the medieval features of the castle.
Monte Selvagem – Animal Reserve
The Monte Selvagem animal reserve: is a theme park that allows contact with the natural world. Located on Monte do Azinhal, in Lavre, the reserve is dedicated to the preservation of various animal species, adopting an ecological and sustainable posture. This open-air reserve covers approximately 20 hectares, where there are various leisure facilities, in an environment that is home to more than 3 hundred species of wild and domestic animals. Monte Selvagem – Reserva Animal intends to allow the experience of moments of adventure, learning, rest and involvement with Nature, encouraging the capture of images of the natural and animal world. Monkeys, lamas, kangaroos, crocodiles, zebras and lemurs are some examples of the species that can be found in this animal reserve.
Castelo de Arraiolos: (or Paço dos Alcaides), is a fortress located in the town of Arraiolos, in Évora, built in the reign of D. Dinis in the 14th century. This castle is located at the top of Monte de São Pedro, a hill with a conical configuration, with smooth slopes, visually distinguishing itself from other castles for its rare architecture, with a circular plan. The main architectural features of the castle are Gothic and romantic, highlighting its Keep, the Clock Tower and the Church of the Savior. The visual setting of this castle deserves to be highlighted in relation to the surrounding region, with extensive landscapes of the typical green Alentejo plains.
Castle of Vila Viçosa
Vila Viçosa Castle: it is a castle located in the municipality of Vila Viçosa, in Évora, built in the 14th century, during the reign of D. Dinis. This castle stands out from the other castles in Portugal due to its location on the top of a hill, on two of the tributaries of the Guadiana River, which although central, places it in the midst of a green and telluric surroundings. This castle has served different purposes over the centuries, as it would be part of a rich history that would leave traces of various eras in the architectural fabric that we currently find. The layout of the fortress refers to an artillery castle, having assumed military functions during the 16th century. Preserving traces of military and Gothic architecture, Castelo de Vila Viçosa takes on a square design with circular turrets. Inside, we can visit two museums – the Museu da Caça and the Museu da Arqueologia – and the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Conceição in Vila Viçosa, standing out here exposed with value to original image of the National Patron Saint.
Castle of Viana do Alentejo
Viana do Alentejo Castle: it is a monument that still generates discussion about its antiquity, knowing only that its construction must be before the 14th century. The castle consists of an imposing wall, in which the Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Anunciação and the Igreja da Misericórdia can be visited, and it will have housed, throughout history, the first Paços do Concelho and the first cemetery of Viana do Alentejo. Of its design, the two access doors and the five towers of cylindrical shape stand out. The churches have architectural features mostly in the Gothic and Manueline style, with Renaissance details and Mudejar influence. Around it, we can observe the mesh of the village where it is integrated, highlighting low houses, whitewashed and with orange and brownish tiles as the main characteristics of the village.
Castle of Alandroal
Castelo de Alandroal: it is a castle located at the highest point of the village of Alandroal, integrated into its urban environment. With a walled military structure, military architecture and a Gothic style, it began to be built in the 13th century, during the reign of D. Dinis. The Castle of Alandroal presents itself as a fortification with an oval configuration, with a polygonal plan, with pyramidal battlements and four quadrangular towers, of which we highlight the Keep. The Torre de Menagem, like the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça, has a Renaissance style. The Clock Tower, which we found in the castle grounds, was built later in the 18th century, being an element of more modern aesthetics, with three valuable cast bronze bells located on the terrace.
Alto de São Bento
Alto de São Bento is a space for panoramic observation, where we find a viewpoint and a museum center, created from the requalification of windmills now inactive. In this viewpoint we have panoramic views over Évora, being particularly sought after by those who want to see or photograph the sunrise and sunset. The location of Alto de São Bento makes this place a point of interest, with a rich visual mesh, of historical, traditional, cultural, environmental and natural interest.
Observatory of Lake Alqueva (OLA)
OLA – Observatório do Lago Alqueva is a sensorial and educational space located in Monsaraz. Oriented to lovers of astronomy and astrophotography, the Observatório do Lago Alqueva invites us to moments of observation of the night sky, with an excellent location, in a space with little light pollution that allows the observation of galaxies, stars and nebulae, using equipment installed on the premises. The visual expedition through the Alentejo sky allows, in OLA, the contact with these astronomy equipment, and the exploration of the legends related to the stars that punctuate the sky. Here we can take advantage of guided, learning sessions, lasting an hour and a half. On cloudy days, the astronomical observation process is still possible by simulating the processes, using astronomy software.
History of Évora
Évora has more than five thousand years of history, having been populated since Prehistory by several peoples, namely Lusitanians, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs. Évora had several designations, with reference to the Roman name Ebora Liberalitas Julia. the life of Évora was conquered in 1165 by Geraldo Sem Pavor, had the first charter in 1166, having the land of the city and around it were handed over to the Order of Calatrava, future Order of Avis. The Évora Cathedral was built in the 13th century. The urban perimeter of the city, began to grow from this century, with a Jewry and a Moorish outside the walls. Évora reached its peak in the 16th century, especially in artistic and cultural circles due to the presence of important figures, namely the poet Garcia de Resende and the sculptor Nicolau de Chanterene. The University of Évora was created in 1550. Évora was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.
Geography and Climate of Évora
The most important rivers in the Évora district are:
Guadiana River: it is a river that creates a natural border between Portugal and Spain. The Guadiana River rises in Spain at approximately 1700 meters of altitude in the lagoons of Ruidera, and flows into the Gulf of Cadiz, between the Portuguese city of Vila Real de Santo António and the Spanish city of Ayamonte. The Guadiana River has a total length of approximately 829 km. In Portugal it has an approximate length of 260 km between the Algarve and the Alentejo. It is in the Guadiana that the Alqueva dam is located.
- Degebe River: it is a tributary of the Guadiana River which is born north of Évora in Monte das Fontainhas, has an approximate length of 10 km, passing through the municipalities of Portel and Reguengos de Monsaraz.
- Rio Xarrama: it is a tributary of the Sado river with an approximate length of 70 km, born in Graça do Divôr, northwest of Évora. The Xarrama River flows into Alcácer do Sal. Its main points of interest are the São Brissos Dam, the Vale do Gaio Dam and the Trigo de Morais Dam.
The main mountainous reliefs in the Évora district are:
- Serra d’Ossa: part of the Natura 2000 Network, the mountain has an altitude of approximately 650 meters, covers the municipalities of Borba, Estremoz and Redondo. It is the largest mountain range in the Évora district, where we find the Zona dos Mármores (white gold), which includes the municipalities of Alandroal, Borba, Estremoz and Vila Viçosa.
- Serra de Monfurado: with a maximum altitude of approximately 430 meters, it includes the municipalities of Évora and Montemor-o-Novo. The main points of interest of the Serra de Monfurado are the Castelo de Giraldo, the Cromeleque dos Almendres, the Gruta do Escoural and the Mina da Nogueirinha.
Gastronomy of Évora
The Alentejo is an area of Portugal with a very old, rich and varied gastronomic tradition. The basis of food in the Évora district, as in the whole of the Alentejo, is pork and lamb, olive oil and bread. Among the many specialties of the eborense cuisine, we highlight the sausages, the ham, the gazpacho à Alentejana, the soup of Purslane, the soup of Cação, the soup of Tomato, the soup of Toucinho, the açorda à Alentejana, the head of Xara, the Borrego stew, the migas à Alentejana, the Pork feet of Coentrada, the sarapatéis, the Joana cake, the withers of Montemor-o-Novo, the stew of the Convent of Santa Clara, the grenades of Vendas Novas, the bread of Rala, Toucinho de Arraiolos pastries, Évora cheeses, sheep and goat cheeses, and eggs bundles.
Évora Administrative Organization
Évora borders Arraiolos to the north, Estremoz to the northeast, Redondo to the east, Reguengos de Monsaraz to the south-east, Portel to the south, Viana do Alentejo to the southwest and Montemor-o-Novo to the west. Évora is approximately 130 km from Lisbon, 90 km from the port of Sines, 80 km from Beja Airport, and 650 km from Madrid.
Évora is administratively organized in the twelve parishes of São Miguel de Machede, São Bento do Mato, Nossa Senhora de Machede, Nossa Senhora da Graça do Divor, Torre de Coelheiros, Canaviais, São Manços and São Vicente do Pigeiro, Nossa Senhora da Tourega and Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, São Sebastião da Giesteira and Nossa Senhora da Boa Fé, Évora (São Mamede, Sé, São Pedro and Santo Antão), Bacelo and Senhora da Saúde, and Malagueira and Horta das Figueiras
Évora Fairs and Pilgrimages
- Feast of Nossa Senhora das Candeias and São Brás: held annually in February.
- Feira de São João: held annually in June and July.
- Portugal Air Show: is the largest aeronautical festival in the Iberian Peninsula, held annually in September.
Five-star tourist accommodation in Évora
Five-star tourist developments:
- Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa Évora
- M’AR de Aqueduto Hotel Évora
- Pousada dos Loios
Four-star tourist developments in Évora:
- Évora Hotel: Alma Alentejana
- Hotel M’AR de Ar Muralhas