Evora, capital of Alto Alentejo, city
of an outstanding beauty, embraced by its fortress walls, filled
with historic memories in each street, each home, each
inhabitant…Its squares and monuments tell us national history,
religion and culture episodes and its townsfolk are proud of both
past and present times.
The natural beauty of this region combines
with the monumental richness of this town-museum that nowadays is
also a modern and touristy city, classified by UNESCO, since 1986,
World Heritage. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, the
archaeological landscape that surrounds the city presents important
monuments, such as the Cromeleque dos Almendres (cromlech) and the
Anta Grande do Zambujeiro (dolmen). Many were the ancient people
that have been here, but the Romans were those who transformed Evora
into an imperial town. They called it Ebora, named after
Julio Cesar as Liberalitas Julia, and left several signs of
their passage, from which the roman temple, known improperly as "Templo
de Diana", stands out.
In 715 AD, the city was conquered by the
Arabs but there are only a few archaeological evidences of that
time. In 1165, Giraldo Sem Pavor (Fearless Giraldo),
on a sudden incursion, took the city from the Moor, and that event
was printed on the city coat-of-arms. The importance of Evora is
undeniable along the centuries: during the Avis Dynasty (1385-1580)
the city became the chosen place of the court, which settled here
frequently, to the detriment of Lisbon or Coimbra. Cardinal King D.
Henrique founded, in 1551, the Colégio do Espírito Santo (Holly
Spirit College), which became the Evora University in 1559, when it
received Rome's approval.
In 1759 it was closed by order of Marquês
de Pombal, on the Jesuits expulsion, reopening again in 1973. As a
reaction to the Filipes' dynasty domination, Evora became a battles'
stage for the national independence. But after the throne was
reclaimed, the court turned away from the city. Since the XX
century, one can notice a rousing will to recover from the wasted
time, restore the monuments and embellish the city. The historic
centre of Évora, as a monumental ensemble of great historic and
cultural value, was classified by UNESCO, in 1986, World Heritage.