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Postcard: Evora, Portugal

A Unesco World Heritage site, Évora's long history—along with its architecture and numerous monuments—spans millennia.

sidewalk cafés after dark in Praça do Giraldo, Portugal, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Andre Vicente Goncalves
Photo caption
Sidewalk cafés light up the night in Praça do Giraldo.

If walls could talk, the towering ramparts surrounding Évora would speak of centuries. Romans conquered the Portuguese city in the 1st century B.C.; years later, medieval kings and Renaissance artists called it home. Stroll the city's cobbled streets today, and you'll enjoy a day that spans millennia. The town's centerpiece is the Templo de Diana, a Roman shrine with a foundation that's still standing strong after 2,000 years. The temple has survived earthquakes as well as invasions by Visigoths and Moors. Fourteen intact Corinthian columns frame the sanctuary, a dozen of them capped with carved flora that have barely worn since the days of the Caesars. The temple now shares the city center with the castlelike Sé Cathedral and the gothic Church of St. Francis, famed for its Chapel of Bones. Outside, locals and tourists lounge over wine and almond cakes at sidewalk cafés in Praça do Giraldo, the central square that was once a Moorish marketplace. A Unesco World Heritage site, Évora has changed hands many times over the years and yet, somehow, its soul remains untouched.

This article was first published in Winter 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.