Öh, no! Not again!” A feeling of déjà vu overcame us when we arrived in Evora on a Friday afternoon. It was cloudy, cold, and a heavy rain was threatening to pour down. It was precisely the kind of weather we had early this year when we visited Evora for the first time. It was so bad that we immediately left the city without actually seeing it. We then escaped to Spain where the weather was a lot better.
Now, 11 months later, we were back! We were thinking, “it couldn’t be true!”We had wonderful weather for the past three weeks and now that we were back in Evora, it was cloudy! Nevertheless, we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. After parking our camper D’Traveller in a big mix-parking area just outside the city walls of Evora, we went to the tourist office to get some relevant informations. Having done that, we made a quick stroll , taking that opportunity to look for the MEO shop ands bought our internet sim-card for Portugal. It was very cheap – 10 euros for 5 GB data, free call in Portugal and limited international call for 9 euros.
Then, it happened! Later in the afternoon, the thick dark clouds that were hanging the whole day on the air finally poured down! That put a halt to our stroll and we went back to our camper. It rained for almost 2 hours that evening, and quite a lot too at night!
EVORA, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The next day, fate smiled at us! We were genuinely relieved to see the sun shining. It was exactly the opoosite of the weather forecast for that day. After having our breakfast, we immediately started our exploration of the city.
Evora, which is the capital city of the Alto Alentejo region, is listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1986. It boasts of a number of historic and artistic monuments ans buildings which made it one of the most beautiful cities of Portugal. We have chosen with care the buildings we wanted to visit as we had to take our time and our budget into consideration. Among the sites we visited are :
1. Praca de Giraldo (Giraldo Square)
You can not miss this place as it is the central square of the historical center. The church of San Antonio stands at the end, as if guarding the whole square. A big fountain is at the middle, and the buildings around it with their convenient arcades serve as café’s restaurants, shops and accommodations. We had our cups of café con leche in one of the square’s café’s. Afterwards, we visited the Church of San Antonio. Entrance was free, but you had to give 50 cents if you wanted to take pictures, which I did.
2. Igreja de Sao Francisco (Church of San Francisco)
The Church of San Francisco is without doubt one of the most beautiful and elegant religious buildings in Evora. It has enjoyed the financial support of the royal family before, which was evident in the beautiful altar pieces inside the main church.
But what makes the church more interesting is the chapel which is attached to it. It is the Bone of Chapels (Capela Dos Ossos). Similar to the Bone Chapel we have visited in Kutna Hora in the Czech republic. The Bone Chapel of San Francisco Church which was built in the 16th century, is decorated with bones from about 5000 human skeletons. Pillars, walls, and arches are covered with bones and skulls forming a rather macabre sight. Written at the entrance of the chapel are the words: “WE BONES THAT ARE HERE, WE ARE WAITING FOR YOURS”.
Entrance to the chapel is 3 euros per person, including a visit to the church museum and nativity collection.
3. LARGO CONDE VILA FLOR
Largo Conde Vila Flor is a square where a number of historic and important buildings are found. Among them are (1) Ruins of Roman Temple; (2) Evora City Museum; (3) Public Library; (4) Loios Church and Convent, now a Pousada or Hotel; (5) Cadaval palace. Near the square is the cathedral with its museum. Hans and I just strolled this area, admiring the sights before us.
Afterwards, we walked slowly back to our camper, passing a lot of souvenir shops with lots of items made of corkwood for sale.
- Estremoz : Mix-parking
Rossio do Marquez de Pombal
Coordinates : N: 38.8432 W : 7.58672
It is a very spacious mix-parking area in the middle of the town, with views of the castle and two other churches. Ideal to visit the historic town of Estremoz. Tourist office with wifi connection is found one side of the square, next to a museum/church. We only stayed here for a night on our way to Evora, and made a 2 hour walk around the town.
2. Evora : Mix-parking
Avenida Tulio Espanca/Dinis Miranda
Coordinates : N: 38.56667 W : 7.90667
It is a big mix-parking area located just outside the city walls. Next to public garden. Center is about 200 meters. Water is available at the small abandoned toilet building near the big statue in the middle of the aprking area.