English, Español, Francês, Português
With hundreds of years of artistic and cultural heritage, Évora boasts a labyrinth of squares, charming streets and distinct architectural styles. On this full-day tour, explore the city and learn about delicious local wines in an included tasting.
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The Templo de Diana is the best-preserved Roman temple on the Iberian Peninsula. The temple is named after the Roman goddess Diana but when it was constructed in the 1st century, it was actually dedicated to Augustus – the emperor who created a cult about himself. The temple has been so well preserved, as during the medieval era it was incorporated into the palace that stood here. Later, after the destruction of the palace, the temple was used as an abattoir and even a wood store!
Evora was a major trading and religious centre, and this former importance is reflected in the sheer number of historical monuments, all of which are all conveniently situated within the city’s ancient walls. Evora should not be mistaken for a sleepy old relic that is reliant upon its glorious past; the city is young and vibrant, with a large student population who attend one of the world’s oldest universities.
The Sé cathedral is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. The cathedral has two mismatched towers, and this is unique for gothic religious buildings, which usually have a panel of symmetry across the front portal. A visit to the cathedral allows access to the roof, from which there are wonderful views over Evora.
There is no stranger tourist attraction in Evora (and possibly central Portugal) than the macabre Capela dos Ossos. The walls of this small chapel are lined with the bones and skulls of more than 5,000 bodies that were exhumed from the crowded graveyards of Evora. These bones have not just been stored in the walls but actually create the decoration of the chapel. The Franciscan monks who designed the chapel followed the Counter-Reformation belief, that death is purely a transitory stage. The creepiness is compounded by the wording above the entrance, which reads "We the bones wait for yours".
The Aqueduto de Agua de Prata provided a constant supply of water to the city and is connected to the water springs in Graça do Divor, 18km to the north. The aqueduct was commanded by King João III and was completed in 1537. The highest arches are seen outside of the city walls, while inside the city, houses and shops have been constructed beneath the arches. The name of the aqueduct (the Silver Water Aqueduct) has a double meaning. The first, and more obvious, is the silver appearance of the water under the bright summer sun. The second reflects the astronomical construction costs, which were so high that it nearly bankrupted the regional government.
With its unique climate conditions, the vineyards of the region produce some of the best Portuguese wines. You will go to a farm where you can taste the best Alentejo has to offer. Continue to the 2nd winery in Alentejo, which has a long-standing winemaking tradition and a stellar reputation for producing intense and fruity ruby-colored reds. Venture out into the neatly pruned vines during a guided vineyard tour and learn about the climate and local varietals.