Friday evening we discussed possible plans for the weekend, we have heard so much about Èvora that should have a well-preserved old town center surrounded by a medieval walls and remains from various historical periods. Évora is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it’s also the capital of the Alentejo region and consequently surrounded by vine-producers.
We left Vila Real de Santo Antonio Saturday morning after breakfast, drove north through a wonderful landscape with to the beginning hills and as we got close to Beja wide plains viewing; corck oaks, wheat fields, cattle, olive trees, vineyards, etc.
After 2,5 hours drive we arrived in Évora, we checked in to Èvora Olive hotel that I booked earlier in the morning through booking.com. This hotel is well situated in the center of the city with walking distance to everything and it was recently inaugurated (only two weeks ago), we were very well taken care of, everything was very fresh and there where still some building jobs being finished.
The rest of the day we spent walking around familiarizing ourself with all the treasures of Évora, we walked around to see the narrow streets, squares, churches, Roman tempel, etc. In the evening we managed to find a small cosy traditional restaurant ”Vinho e Nós”, we enjoyed some good food; steak and black pork (see pictures) and at the same time we watched Portugal playing against Austria in Euro 2016 with an unfortunate draw.
Sunday morning we started with a nice breakfast, then we went to see fist of all Igreja S Fransisco. Built between the end of the 15th and the early 16th centuries in mixed Gothic-Manueline styles. The wide nave is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture.
By the side we also visited the famous Cappella dos ossos ( the bone chapel) Capela dos Ossos was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk who, in the Counter-Reformation spirit of that era, wanted to prod his fellow brothers into contemplation and transmit the message of life being transitory, a very common spirituality theme summed up in the motto memento mori. This is clearly shown in the famous warning at the entrance Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos (“We bones that here are, for yours await”). The chapel is formed by three spans 18.7 meters long and 11 meters wide. Light enters through three small openings on the left. Its walls and eight pillars are decorated in carefully arranged bones and skulls held together by cement. The ceiling is made of white painted brick and is painted with death motifs. The number of skeletons of monks was calculated to be about 5000, coming from the cemeteries that were situated inside several dozen churches. Very interesting place.
After that we visited Cathedral of Évora mainly built between 1280 and 1340, it is one of the most important gothic monuments of Portugal. The cathedral has a notable main portal with statues of the Apostles (around 1335) and a beautiful nave and cloister. One transept chapel is Manueline and the outstanding main chapel is Baroque. The pipeorgan and choir stalls are renaissance (around 1566).We also climbed up to the tower were we had a fantastic view all over Èvora all the way to the vineyards that are surrounding, really worth the climb.
I hope the pictures can live up to the beauty of Évora.