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Évora Humanity Cultural Heritage

This is a travel to destinations in the beautiful lands of Central Alentejo south of Lisbon in Portugal. The travel is pleasant with the typical landscape of the Alentejo region.

We departed from Lisbon until our first destination, the village of Arraiolos about 125 kilometers from Lisbon.

Map Évora Alentejo PortugalMap with visited places

Landscape Alentejo PortugalThe Alentejo landscape along the travelling

Once in the village of Arraiolos we have walked around the Municipal Square one of the meeting places for conversatin between locals and a passage of visitors like us.

Arraiolos village Alentejo PortugalThe first coffe in the morning in the Arraiolos village

Council Arraiolos Alentejo PortugalFacade of the council of Arraiolos
Square Munícipio Arraiolos Portugal AlentejoView of Municipal Square of Arraiolos

 Portuguese Pavement Arraiolos Alentejo PortugalThe beautiful decoration of the Portuguese sidewalk at Municipal Square in the village of Arraiolos

Pelourinho Arraiolos Alentejo PortugalPelourinho from Arraiolos village of XVI century
Image wall Tribunal Arraiolos Alentejo PortugalPainting in the lateral part of the court building

One of the attractions of the village of Arraiolos is its great tradition in the manufacture of carpets in quality embroidery, with beautiful and combined colors. This tradition originated in the second half of 16th century, although recent research suggests that its origin is older. This art is also linked to the ancient production of wool in the village of Arraiolos.

The Factory of carpets Hortense and FRACOOP Tapetes were two of the stores we have visited on Alexandre Herculano Street where we talked a little with their assistants who were very friendly.

 Arraiolos village  Alentejo PortugalThe good mood at Alexandre Herculano Street in Arraiolos Store Casa Hortense Tapetes Alentejo Arraiolos PortugalAt the Hortense Tapetes Factory

Factory carpets FRACOOP Arraiolos Alentejo PortugalAt FRACOOP Tapetes

Nearby from there going up to the hill it is the Castle of Arraiolos built in the early 14th century. This castle was inhabited between 1415 and 1423 by the nobel general Condestavel D. Nuno Álvaro Pereira considered one of the greatest military strategists in Portugal.

The castle has a fantastic panoramic view over the village of Arraiolos as well as its plain. Its state of conservation was affected after the 1755 earthquark.

Castle of Arraiolos Portugal AlentejoOn the way to Castle of Arraiolos
Castle of Arraiolos Portugal AlentejoFacade of the Gate arms with the Keep at the bottom
Church of  São Salvador Portugal Arraiolos AlentejoView of São Salvador Church inside of Arraiolos Castle
Castle of Arraiolos Alentejo PortugalView of the plain from Arraiolos Castle

Castle of Arraiolos

The long extension of the elliptical wall

After the pleasure of visiting the beautiful village of Arraiolos, we have traveled about twenty one kilometers to the mills of the Hill of São Bento near the city of Évora.

The Hill of São Bento viewpoint has an huge granitic rock and a set of mills that have been deactivated from their orginal functions. We can see at least two mills in good condition.

Currently inside the mills and around the outer space, scientific activities of pedagogical nature are carried out in natural sciences about flora and local geology.

Mills of Alto de São Bento Évora Alentejo PortugalHuge rock and the mills of the Hill of São Bento
 Alto de São Bento Évora Alentejo PortugalPanoramic view from Hill of São Bento to the city of Évora
Butterfly Alto de São Bento Évora AlentejoA butterfly landing on the rock in the Hill of São Bento in Évora
Scarecrow Alto de São Bento Évora Portugal AlentejoA scarecrow friend always present in the Hill of São Bento

After the good atmosphere and the fantastic view from the Hill of São Bento viewpoint, we went down to the Historical Center of Évora city about four kilometers.

The people who passed through the region around the Évora left a very rich and interesting historical and cultural legacy. To name a few, we have to go back from prehistory with the testimony of the Megalithic period, passing the Roman, Moorish and Christian domain to the present time.

The city of Évora had its great architectural development, which is largely preserved in the city center from the 16th century.

Map City Évora Alentejo Portugal

Visit spots in Évora Center History

The charm of the old streets and the squares as well as the churches characterize the city of Évora. The unavoidable Aqueduct of Silver Water of 1537 is a historic landmark of the city with eighteen kilometers in extension.

Aqueduct da Água de Prata Alentejo Évora PortugalWelcome to Évora city by the Aqueduct of Silver Water
Évora Portugal roads streets Alentejo PortugalIn the bottom the Garcia de Rezende theater in Joaquim António Aguiar Square

Streets Évora Alentejo Portugal

Walking along the medievals streets of Évora

Renovated in 1571, the national monument of the Square of Giraldo Fountain is a symbol of urban importance that served in the past to supply water to the population.

Square of Giraldo Évora  Alentejo PortugalThe Giraldo Fountain. At the bottom the Santo Antão Church

Walking through Square of Graça it is the Church and Convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça built in the first half of the 16th century with Renaissance and Mannerist architectural features.

Igreja e Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça Évora Alentejo Portugal

Main Facade of the Church and Convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça with four giants in the upper corners.

Then we visit the chapel of bones which is located in the Church of São Francisco.

Sé Cathedral Évora Alentejo Portugal

Main facade in arches of the São Francisco Church
Sé Catedral Évora Alentejo PortugalGeneral view of the São Francisco Church

One of the great attractions is in the fact the Chapel of Bones for its impressive exhibition of human bones on the walls, columns and ceilings. It is a monument that was built in the 17th century by three Fransciscan friers.

With a profound message at the entrance to the nave where exist thousands of human bones and skulls “We bones that are here for yours are waiting”. It is undoubtedly a message of reflection for those who visit this monument.

Chapel of Bones Évora Alentejo PortugalNave entrance to Chapel of Bones

Chapel of Bones Évora Alentejo PortugalGeneral view of the nave of Chapel of Bones
Chapel of Bones Évora Alentejo PortugalBones in the column
Chapel of Bones Évora Alentejo PortugalBones in the wall and ceiling
Chapel of Bones Évora Alentejo PortugalHuman skeleton

As we left the nave of the Chapel of Bones we have entered in the Chapter Room where the friars debated spiritual matters and took decisions. The room has a small altar and there is around a beautfiful wall with tiles of the architect Siza Vieira contrasting the allusion of death with the miracle of life.

House of Chapter Chapel of Bones Évora Alentejo PortugalIn Chapter Room House of Chapter Chapel of Bones Évora Alentejo PortugalIn the Chapter Room with tiles along the wall constrasting death with the miracle of life

The Museological Nucleus is on the first floor. This was the friars former dormitory. It currently serves as an exhibition of paintings, sculptures from the 16th to the 18th centuries, sacred jewelery and a chronological circuit of religious and social life in Évora.

 Museum of Évora Alentejo PortugalThe Museological Nucleus in Évora  Museum of Évora Alentejo PortugalSacred art exhibition

 Museum of  Évora Alentejo Portugal

Painting exhibition at Museological Nucleus

There is a brilliant exhibition gallery of national and international nativity scenes on the floor above the museological Nucleus.

Nativity scenes  Évora Alentejo PortugalExhibition of nativity scenes
Nativity scenes Évora Portugal AlentejoThe art of artisans of nativity scenes

The exit from the exhibition of nativity scenes has led us to a terrace with a panoramic view of the city.

 panoramic view terrace Chapel of Bones Évora PortugalPanoramic view in the terrace of São Francisco Church

After visiting the São Francisco Church and the Chapel of Bones we went to lunch at near Square of Giraldo. The chosen dishes were carne de porco alentejana (pork with claims), pork loin grilled and grilled ribs.

 Carne de porco alentejana (pork with claims)Carne de porco alentejana (pork with claims)

Pork loin grilledPork loin grilled
Grilled ribsGrilled ribs

After lunch we went to visit the Roman Temple of Évora also known as Temple of Diana.

On the way we took a picture of the beautiful Roman Arch of D. Isabel which corresponded to the Roman city of Ébora (old name of Évora city).

Roman Arch of  D. Isabel Évora Alentejo Portugal

Roman Arch of D. Isabel

No doubt, the Roman Temple is one of the icons of the city of Évora and one of the testimonies of the Roman presence built at the time of the Roman emperor Augustus in the 1st century (before Christ), destined for imperial worship. It is considered World Heritage Site.

Roman Temple ( Diana Temple) Évora Alentejo Portugal View south of Roman Temple in Évora

 Roman Temple ( Diana Temple) Évora Alentejo PortugalView north of Roman Temple in Évora

Nearby of the Roman Temple it is the building of Painted Houses. Its lovely gardens around, with the painting on the walls expressing the fresco technique of the 16th century provides an atmosphere of beauty to this space.

Painted Houses Évora Alentejo PortugalThe paintings on the walls at bottom
Painted Houses Jarden Évora Alentejo PortugalThe garden at the Painted Houses
Painted Houses Évora Alentejo PortugalPaintings at Painted Houses Painted Houses Évora Alentejo PortugalPalace paintings

From the Painted Houses we went to the Carriege Collection exhibition. It is a space that take us to travel in carrieges of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century.

 Carrieges collections Évora Alentejo PortugalCarriage Collections exhibition

From the Carriage Collections we visit the Cathedral of Évora, the largest medieval cathedral in Portugal. From an architectural point of view, it underwent transformations in the 13th and 14th centuries with the introduction of Gothic.

The first space to visit at the Cathedral of Évora was the terrace with a very beautiful panoramic view and with some elements such as the medieval towers and the bells on the south side.

Sé Cathedral Évora Alentejo PortugalGothic Portal with the apostles at the entrance of the Cathedral of Évora
Sé Cathedral Évora Alentejo PortugalNorth panoramic view Norte in the the terrace of the Évora Cathedral with the medieval towers at the bottom
Cathedral Évora Alentejo ÉvoraPanoramic view in the Cathedral of Évora
Sé Cathedral Évora Alentejo PortugalAt bottom the towers of bells at the Cathedral of Évora

After the panormic view on the terrace of the Cathedral of Évora, we came down the stairs in spiral that gives access to the Cloister and the Church.

Cloister Sé Cathedral Évora Alentejo PortugalArea of the Cloister in the Évora Cathedral

Sé Cathedral Cloister Évora Alentejo PortugalGothic elements in the Cloister of the Cathedral Évora
Sé Cathedral Évora Tombs Alentejo Évora PortugalOne of the tombs in the Cathedral of Évora

When we left the Cathedral of Évora on the way to the Fountain of Portas de Moura, there was still time to take a picture of a very beautiful Manueline style window. This is the Garcia Resende window that is part of the Cultural Heritage of Évora.

Window Manueline Évora Portugal Alentejo

Window of Garcia de Resende

The Fountain of Portas de Moura opened in 1556 was part of the urban renewal of the time. It is another beautiful square of Évora with the House of Cordovil nearby.

Fountain of Portas de Moura Évora Alentejo PortugalFountain of Portas de Moura House of  Cordovil Évora Alentejo PortugalHouse of Cordovil with islamic arches near the Fountain of Portas de Moura

To complement the visit to the Historic Center of Évora, nothing better than tasting some regional cakes at the Pão de Rala Conventual pastry. We loved the Cericás served with cherries.

Pastry Alentejo cakes regional typical Portugal The smile for eating regional cakes of Alentejo

Already with the fall of the Sun we went to the Almendres Cromlech as the last destination of our tour in Évora.

Cromlech of Almendres Évora Alentejo PortugalGoogle picture of Almendres Cromlech in Évora

It is the largest megalithic monument in the Iberian peninsula and one of the oldest in mankind with aorund 7000 a.c (before Christ). The image above shows the elliptical megalithic structure in a set of 95 monoliths (large stones).

Like most of these monuments, the megalithic enclosure Almendres Cromlech has a preferential orientation linked to the movements of the Sun and the Moon on the horizon.

Cromlech of Almendres Évora Portugal AlentejoOn the way to the megalithic of Almendres Cromlech

Cromlech of Almendres Évora Portugal AlentejoThe joy of witnessing times of prehistoric experience in the Almendres Cromlech in Évora Cromlech of Almendres Évora Portugal AlentejoA general view of the Almendres Cromlech in Évora

Cromlech of Almendres Évora Portugal AlentejoFull Moon in the megalithic Almendres Cromlech

The visit to places around Évora led us to explore and discover why Évora is a World Heritage Site.

From the tradition of Arraiolos carpets, to the villages and urban cities that told us the history of various cultures of ancient peoples as well as the excellent flavors of local regional pastry have turned this tour into a fantastic day.

We hope that our readers and travel lovers can have also the same pleasure and tranquility that we experience in this wonderful journey around Évora.

References Câmara Municipal de Évora

Thanks to Manuel Manero for blogging recommendations

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Rui Vasconcelos

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