Évora - History
In the heart of Alentejo region, at a distance of 130 km from Lisbon, lies the city of Évora. Due to part of the town which being enclosed by ancient walls preserved in its original state and, to its monuments dating from various historical periods, Évora is included in UNESCO's World Heritage list. It was known by the Romans as Liberalitas Julia, and vestiges from this period (walls and rooms) and the monumental imperial temple (Diana's temple), still remain. During the barbarian invasions, Evora was under Visigoth rule. It occupied a space defined by a Roman enclosure that had been modified. In 715, the city was conquered by the Muslims.
Évora was wrested from the moors by Geraldo the Fearless (Sem Pavor) in 1166 and flourished as one of the most dynamic cities in the Kingdom of Portugal during Middle Ages. The court was resident here for long spells and Évora became the scene for many royal weddings and a place where many important decisions were made. Particularly thriving during the Avis Dynasty (1385-1580), it was formerly a major centre for the humanities. The university was founded by the Company of Jesus in 1551, and it was here that great European Masters such as Clenardo and Molina passed on their knowledge. In the 18th century, the Jesuits, which had spread intellectual and religious enlightenment since the 16th century, was expelled, the university was closed and Evora went into decline. The university was reopened in 1973.
The many monuments erected by the major artists of each period now testify to Évora's lively cultural, artistic and historical past. The variety of architectural styles (romanic, gothic, manueline, mannerist, baroque), the palaces and even the squares and narrow streets are all part of the rich heritage of this museum-city.
Today, the beautiful historical centre has about 4000 buildings and a surface of 105 ha.