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TravelPeeling back layers of history in Evora

07:35  12 february  2019
07:35  12 february  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Évora 's impressive cathedral was built after Giraldo's conquest — on the site of the mosque. Inside the cathedral is a 15th-century painted marble statue of a pregnant Mary. It's thought that early priests, hoping to make converts out of Celtic pagans who worshipped mother goddesses, felt they'd have

History of Evora Cathedral. The cathedral of Évora was built in a solid Romanesque style beginning in 1186, about 20 years after the Reconquest and on the site of the city's main mosque. Peeling Back the Layers of Evora 's History - Rick Steves' Europe.

Peeling back layers of history in Evora© Cameron Hewitt, Rick Steves’ Eur The 16th-century marble fountain, on Evora’s main square, was once an important water source. Now it’s a popular hangout for young and old.

From Romans to Moors to Portuguese kings, the proud little town of Evora -- set amid the cork groves of Portugal's Alentejo region -- has a big history. Just 90 minutes east of Lisbon, Evora has impressive sights -- Roman ruins, a 12th-century cathedral, and a macabre chapel of bones -- coupled with a laid-back local scene and a hearty cuisine that makes me think of Tuscany.

From the second century B.C. to the fourth century A.D., Evora was a Roman town important for its wealth of wheat and silver, as well as its location on a trade route to Rome. From the eighth to the 12th century, the Moors ruled Evora. During its Renaissance glory years, Evora was favored by Portuguese kings, even serving as the home of King João III, who presided over Portugal's peak of power (and its first decline).

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Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on Évora . Deep in the heart of Portugal, in the sizzling, arid plains of the southern province of Alentejo, historic Évora has been a cultural oasis for 2,000 years.

Peeling Back Layers . 52 likes · 4 talking about this · 4 were here. We help clients by creating a financial plan for them by looking at their total

Evora's walled city is compact. The main sights cluster within a five-minute walk of the main square, Praca do Giraldo -- named for Giraldo the Fearless, the Christian knight who led a surprise attack and retook Evora from the Moors in 1165. As thanks, Giraldo was made governor of the town and the symbol of the city. The square served as the town's market during the Moorish period, and to this day, it remains a center of commerce and conviviality for country folk who come to Evora for their weekly shopping.

Radiating out from this town hub are traditionally decorated cobbled streets -- centuries old and protected by law. The yellow trim on the buildings is common for this region and believed to repel evil spirits. Jacaranda trees -- imported from South America 200 years ago -- provide shade through the summer and purple flowers in the spring. Lining these streets are fine eateries and shops selling local products, including cork (everything from purses to postcards), tile, leather, ironwork, and Arraiolos rugs (handmade with a distinctive weave in a nearby town).

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Peeling Back the Layers of Evora 's History - Rick Steves' Europe. Traveler Reviews of the Chapel of Bones - TripAdvisor. Igreja de São Francisco ( Évora ) - Portuguese Wikipedia.

Peeling Back the Layers was a hands-on educational project, run by the Tudor Farming Interpretation Group (TFIG). A wide range of people investigated the history and archaeology of Whitle, Sheen and the surrounding landscape. Groups and individuals joined together with primary and secondary

Peeling back layers of history in Evora© Cathy Lu, Rick Steves’ Europe The Chapel of Bones, at the Church of St. Francis, contains thousands of skulls and bones unearthed from various Evora churchyards.

As you wander, you'll see several remnants of the Roman wall that once encircled the town. But the most intact Roman ruin is up a hill, at the town's high point: 14 Corinthian columns, marking the Roman temple that once stood here. Today, open-air concerts and events are staged against this evocative temple backdrop, beautifully floodlit at night.

The Museum of Evora stands where the Roman forum once sprawled. An excavated section of the forum is in the museum's courtyard, surrounded by a delightful mix of Roman finds, medieval statuary, and 16th-century Portuguese, Flemish, Italian, and Spanish paintings.

Also topping the hill is Evora's cathedral -- a transitional mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles, standing on the site of a former mosque. Inside the cathedral is a 15th-century painted marble statue of a pregnant Mary. Throughout Alentejo, people have a deeply felt affinity for this ready-to-produce-a-savior Mary. Across the aisle, a more realistic Renaissance Gabriel, added a century later, comes to tell Mary her baby won't be just any child. For great views of the surrounding plains, head up to the church's rooftop terrace.

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History , like geography, is layers built upon layers . Land bears the scars as surely as our own lives. Sir Martin Gilbert is the official biographer of Winston Churchill and a leading historian on the Twentieth Century, who, in his 88 books has shown there is such a thing as "true history ".

“I want to peel back the multiple histories of Alexandria,” Chapman said. As children, he and his sister Jennifer were routinely taken to exhibits and historic sites by their mother, Michele Chapman, who instilled such a love of history in him that he majored in the subject in college.

Peeling back layers of history in Evora© Provided by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services Rick Steves

While the cathedral is impressive, I prefer the more intimate Church of St. Francis, built in the 14th century by the Franciscans. The highlight here is the Chapel of Bones, where thousands of human bones line the walls and a chorus of skulls stares blankly at you. This was the work of three monks who were concerned about society's values at the time. They thought the chapel would provide Evora, a town noted for its wealth in the early 1600s, with a helpful place to meditate on the transience of material things in the undeniable presence of death. The thought-provoking message above the chapel door translates as: "We bones in here wait for yours to join us."

After meditating on mortality, it's time to return to the land of the living. For a fine slice-of-life look at this community, head to the nearby farmers market, with a fragrant fish section, fresh produce, and good little eateries. Or you can pick up picnic food to eat in the pleasant public garden next to the church. If you want to try the locals' favorite pastry, queijada (sweet cheese tart), you can buy them fresh from the kiosk cafE inside the park.

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At dusk we walked up a path along the stream that stitches together Pano Potamia and Kato Potamia, two villages in the most fertile part of Naxos, the Greek island. While most of the other Cycladic islands are as dry as toast, Naxos is covered in verdant valleys and mountain villages

▲▲ Évora Whitewashed college town with big Roman, Moorish, and Portuguese history encircled by its medieval wall, set amid the rustic Alentejo heartland. ▲▲ Coimbra Portugal's Oxford, home to an Arab-flavored old town and bustling with students from its prestigious university.

While you can zip in and out of Evora on a day trip from Lisbon, I prefer to spend the night and savor dinner at one of the town's fine restaurants. The Alentejo region has its own proud, rustic cuisine with lots of game and robust red wines. Linger over dinner, then, late in the evening, stroll the beautiful back streets and embrace the chance to just enjoy a ramshackle, workaday town in the countryside of Portugal.

IF YOU VISIT...

SLEEPING: Pousada dos Lóios (also called Pousada Convento de Evora) is a luxury hotel renting 36 small but well decorated rooms in a former monastery (splurge, www.pousadas.pt). Moov Hotel Evora is a great value, with 80 minimalist rooms in a residential area of the walled city (budget, www.hotelmoov.com).

EATING: For decades, Restaurante O Fialho has dished out some of Evora's finest local cuisine. It's expensive, delicious, and enjoyably pretentious (Travessa das Mascarenhas 16, tel. 351-266-703-079). Adega do Alentejano proudly serves traditional Alentejano dishes in a cozy space, with house wine poured from large earthenware vats (Rua Gabriel Victor do Monte Pereira 21A, tel. 351-266-744-447).

GETTING AROUND: Evora's main sights are located within the city walls -- and the city center is easily walkable. For those arriving by car, a shuttle bus provides easy transport to and from parking lots beyond the center.

TOURIST INFORMATION: www.cm-evora.pt.

(Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. Email him at [email protected] and follow his blog on Facebook.)

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