Évora: a real city museum
Became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1986, it is considered a real city museum due to the presence of numerous architectural testimonies in the most varied styles. Second only to Lisbon for the amount of national monuments, its historic center is protected by imposing city walls, works dating back to different eras, the last of the seventeenth century. The best way to visit is on foot, along the picturesque cobbled streets, admiring the typical whitewashed houses and decorated with ocher lines, remained unchanged over the centuries, and stopping in the family run restaurants, where you can taste the best local products. Évora has been an important commercial and religious center and this is reflected in the numerous tourist sites located within the walls; numerous Roman ruins, among the most significant and best preserved in Portugal.
Universidade do Espírito Santo
The liveliness of the city is not only due to its architectural heritage, in fact here it is home to one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Portugal, the Universidade do Espírito Santo, founded in 1559 by Cardinal D. Henrique as the College of the Company of Jesus, who since 1973 has set up the current headquarters. Today it welcomes approximately 10.000 students per year.
Praça do Giraldo
The heart of Évora, as well as the meeting place for young university students, is Praça do Giraldo, with its numerous cafés and clubs. Starting from the porticoes of the square you can reach the main points of interest: The Temple and the Roman Baths, the Igreja de Graça and the Igreja de São Francisco.
Igreja de São Francisco
The latter whose architecture is influenced by the Gothic and Manueline style, fascinates visitors with the harmony and elegance of the golden altars and the walls decorated by the azulejos; along the nave you reach the most significant section of the church, the Capela dos Ossos. The whole chapel is covered by at least 5.000 human bones and skulls, and was built by a Franciscan monk during the period of Catholic rebirth, with the aim of encouraging the faithful to reflect on the brevity of life.
Sé de Catedral
The emblem of the city is still the majestic Cathedral of Évora or Sé de Catedral, another testimony of the Roman presence as well as one of the largest churches in Portugal. Inside you can visit the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade (also called Chapel of Esporão) and admire the remarkable decorations in Renaissance style.
Where to stay
Considering as ideal introduction to Portugal’s Alentejo region the Hotel Convento do Espinheiro & Spa which has given new life to a 15th century convent, considered a national monument, where important nobles throughout history helped shape Portugal’s destiny. The Convento do Espinheiro & Spa offers a total of 92 rooms with 6 different categories of room, including 6 large suites, decorated in a variety of styles to suit your preference. It houses one amazing restaurant, the Divinus Restaurant, which is located the convent’s ancient wine-cellar converted into the Wine-Bar.
It has an exclusive location, entirely dedicated to tasting and to pleasure of enjoying the diverse, numerous and excellent typical Alentejo regional products. The Convento do Espinheiro & Spa also has two pools, one indoor and one outdor and in this latter there’s a delicious bar that provides great summer heat relaxation. As facilities it also offers tennis and paddle courts with complimentary equipment and bike tours throughout the grounds and local area. The Spa offers many different treatments, all relaxing and perfect to dissolve the tension, designed and studied by different ancient cultures, brought into a meditative, beautiful and peaceful environment.