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PRIVATE TOUR ÉVORA E MONSARAZ

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What to Expect
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Stop At: Evora Inn, R. da República 11, 7000-841 Évora, Portugal

Évora

Towns and Villages

Topped by an imposing cathedral, Évora is laid out over a gently sloping hill rising out of the huge Alentejo plain. It guards its historic centre with a vast outer wall and represents a valuable cultural legacy that UNESCO has classified World Heritage.

The city, with its narrow streets of Moorish origin contrasting with squares where the light floods in, holds two millennia of hsitory. Conquered in 59 B.C. by the Romans, they named it "Liberalitas Julia". In this period, Évora gained great importance as can be witnessed from the remains of that time: the ruins of a fine temple dated towards the end of the second century, various parts of the wall and the gateway more recently called Dona Isabel in addition to the remains of thermal baths below what is now the Municipal Council building.

Little remains of the Visigoth period (5th - 8th centuries). There then followed the Moorish period begun with the city's conquest by Tárique. This lasted through to Christian reconquest in the 12th century. Yeborah, as it became known, had already received an indelible Moorish influence, most clearly seen in the Mouraria neighbourhood.

After the Reconquest, in addition to between the inner and outer walls, urban development moved beyond the city's walls. The city was home to the court of various Portuguese kings of the first and second dynasties. During this period it was endowed with various palaces and monuments, particularly during the reigns of kings João II and Manuel (15th and 16th centuries).

Wander its streets and absorb the secret soul that a diverse range of cultural influences has laid down in this city of the World. There are also excellent restaurants and bars, esplanades, arts and handicraft stores and the youthful nature of those attending its university all adding up to a dynamic of the present with its roots very firmly in the past.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Templo Romano de Evora (Templo de Diana), Largo do Conde de Vila Flor Dentro da Muralha, Evora 7000-804 Portugal

Templo romano de Évora

Archaeology

The Roman Temple, over 2000 years old, is the ex-libris monument of Évora and is one of the most important historic ruins in the country.

The Roman temple in Évora was built in the first century, during the time of Caesar Augustus. It has a long history, serving as testimony to many transformations and different uses over the centuries. It was practically destroyed when the Barbarians occupied the Iberian peninsular in the fifth century, and served as a bank vault and butcher’s to Evora castle in the 14th century.

Its original Roman design was only recovered in the 19th century, in one of the first archaeological interventions in Portugal. It is a testimony to the Roman forum of the city of Évora, consecrated to the Imperial cult, thus clarifying a 17th-century tradition that claimed that the temple had been consecrated to the goddess Diana. For this reason, it was identified for many years as the Temple of Diana. Recent excavations have shown that it was surrounded by a portico and water mirror.


Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Igreja de Sao Francisco, Praca 1 de Maio, Evora 7000-656 Portugal

Igreja de São Francisco / Capela dos Ossos - Évora

Monuments

Church of São Francisco - Évora

One of the striking features of the façade is a church porch with arches of different styles - a typical example of the "marriage" between Gothic and Moorish style found in so many monuments of this region in Portugal. Over the Manueline doorway we can see the emblems of the kings that commissioned its construction - D. João II and D. Manuel I - whose emblems were the pelican and armillary sphere respectively.

One particularity of the Church is that it has a single nave, terminating in a ribbed vaulted ceiling, that has the largest span of all Portuguese Gothic architecture. On the sides we can see twelve chapels, all covered in Baroque carved woodwork. The main chapel, dating from the early 16th century, still maintains important Renaissance features such as the pulpits. It's well worth noting the harmonious decoration of stone, carved woodwork and azulejo tiles in the chapel of the third order, on one of the arms of the transept.

Inside, visitors can see the strange Bones Chapel, built during the Filippine period (17th-century). The pillars and walls are completely covered by bones. It's also worth noting the late Renaissance doorway where the capitals of the columns seem to be decorated in a different manner according to whether one is looking from the exterior or interior.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Cathedral of Évora, Largo do Marquês de Marialva, 7000-809 Évora, Portugal

From Évora's Cathedral to Largo das Portas de Moura

Other

Turning the apse of the Sé, head down the Freiria de Cima street looking for the porches and twinned windows that ornament some of the houses.

Continuing along the streets of Cenáculo and Freiria de Baixo, you come across S. Manços street where there is the House of Garcia de Resende (who was royal secretary, poet and writer). The house boasts three beautiful twinned Manueline windows decorated with small columns and Moorish style points.

Further along, in the Portas de Moura square, in addition to the Mudéjar - Manueline veranda of the Cordovil house, the beautiful renaissance fountain draws all eyes.

The interesting angle of the Sé can be particularly effectively discerned from this spot.

Close by there is the former University of the Holy Spirit founded in 1559 by Cardinal Henrique for the College of the Company of Jesus.

Since 1973, this has been the central building of the current University of Évora, attended by over 8,000 students. In the building, there are the double gallery cloisters. Opening onto the galleries are the rooms still fitted with the antique teaching stands and benches complete with magnificent tiled panels depicting aspects of the various classes taught.

The College Church was well suited to teaching uses as can be seen by the pulpit placed in the very middle of the room and the excellent acoustic conditions. In one of the chapels, there is the great wooden crucifix that is carried at the head of religious processions.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Loios Convent, Largo do Conde de Vila Flor 4, Evora 7000-804 Portugal

Igreja dos Lóios - Évora

Monuments

Church of Lóios - Évora

The Church of Lóios was built in the 15th century, in Gothic-Manueline style, although the façade now includes alterations introduced in the 18th century. It has been listed as a National Monument.

Inside, it's well worth seeing the azulejo tile panels depicting episodes from the life of São Lourenço Justiniano. With great expressive and stylistic quality, they were painted in 1711 by the Lisbon-based artist, António de Oliveira Bernardes.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Cathedral of Evora (Se Catedral de Evora), Largo do Marques de Marialva, Evora 7000-809 Portugal

Sé Catedral de Évora

Monuments

The largest medieval cathedral in Portugal.

A fortified church with Gothic features, Évora Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Portugal. Initiated in 1186, consecrated in 1204, and immediately used as one of the main temples of the Marian cult, it was only complete in 1250. It is a monument that showcases the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic style, with Renaissance and Baroque additions introduced later.

The facade is flanked by two towers, both medieval, with the bells being placed in the south tower. The north tower houses a number of valuable treasures belonging to the Museum of the Sacred Art; some unique priceless pieces, such as the image of the Virgin of Paradise, a figurine of the Virgin and Child that opens up from the lap and portrays an altarpiece with various scenes of the Birth and Passion. The remarkable central dome, built at the end of the 13th century during the reign of King Dinis, is the Cathedral’s true showstopper. The main portico is one of the most impressive Portuguese gothic portals, with master sculptures of the Apostles made in the 14th century by Master Pêro, a leading name in national Gothic sculptures. Besides the main portico there are two other entrances: the Porta do Sol, facing south, with Gothic arches; and the North Gate, rebuilt in the Baroque period.

The interior is divided into three naves about 80 metres long. In the central nave you can see the altar of Our Lady of the Angel (locally known as Nossa Senhora do Ó), with polychrome marble images of the Virgin and the Angel Gabriel. The 18th-century altar and the marble chapel in Estremoz are Baroque works by J.F. Ludwig, known as Ludovice, who was the architect of the Palace of Mafra, at the service of King John V (1706-1750). In the chapel, a beautiful crucifix known as the "Father of the Christ" is displayed above the painting of Our Lady of the Assumption.

In the transept, see the ancient Chapels of Saint Lawrence and the Holy Christ, and the Chapels of the Relics and the Blessed Sacrament, decorated with gilded carvings. At the northern tip is the spectacular Renaissance portal of the Chapel of the Morgados do Esporão. And in the upper-choir is a very valuable renaissance chair carved in oak wood, and an organ of great proportions, also of the 18th century.

You can also visit the gothic cloister, dated 1325, and climb to the terrace, from where you can enjoy a beautiful panorama over the entire city of Évora, since the Cathedral is located at its highest point.


Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Graca, Largo da Graca, Evora 7000-645 Portugal

Igreja da Graça - Évora

Monuments

Church of Graça - Évora

The Church of Graça was built in the 16th century, during the reign of D. João III, in accordance with architectural designs by Miguel de Arruda.

A unique monument, of Palladian influence, it highlights a robust character in its Mannerist façade, including a monumental doorway topped by a double fronton with angels above it. Four robust Atlas-style figures are placed around the four corners, symbolising the four rivers (which the locals call, with a certain degree of irony, " the children of grace ").

Key features of the interior include the Estremoz marble windows in the zone of the high chapel, crafted by the Renaissance sculptor, Nicolau de Chanterenne.

Duration: 30 minutes

Pass By: University of Evora, Largo dos Colegiais 2, Evora 7004-516 Portugal

Universidade de Évora

Monuments

The creation of the University of Évora dates back to the sixteenth century when the Cardinal D. Henrique, 1st Archbishop of Évora, with the consent of King João III, ordered the construction of a building to house the community of Jesuit seminarians. In 1553 the facilities were extended, having been erected the Cloister of the 'Botica' (Pharmacy), from which originated the College of the Espírito Santo (Holy Spirit), administered by the Company of Jesus. The first class was taught on August 28, 1553. Six years later, on April 15, 1559, the second university in Portugal was created, through the Papal Bull Cum a Nobis, issued by Pope Paul IV. The first solemn opening of the academic year took place on the Day of All Saints on November 1, 1559.

Two years later, a new extension of the building began, with the construction of the Courtyard of the 'Gerais'. At the time, the university was authorized to teach all subjects except Medicine, Civil Law and part of the Canon Law. It initially taught Philosophy, Moral, Scripture, Speculative Theology, Rhetoric, Grammar and Humanities. Later, in the reign of D. Pedro II, the teaching of Mathematics, Geography, Physics and Military Architecture began.

After 200 years of prominence for its role in the formation of the elites and missionaries of the kingdom, the university was closed by the Marquis of Pombal, on February 8, 1759, and the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal. Over the following 200 years, the University of Évora remained closed until its renewal in 1973, reopening its doors as a public university. During this period, many other institutions of teaching vocation passed through this beautiful building, either alone or on a cohabitation arrangement: the Regal Teachers of the 'Pombalina' Reform (1762), the Third Order of St. Francis under the protection of Frei Manuel do Cenáculo (1776), the Real Casa Pia (1836), The National 'Liceu' - High School (1841), the Industrial and Commercial School (1915) and the University Institute of Évora (1973).

Nowadays, the University of Évora is a modern and innovative institution,prominent for the quality of its research and teaching, following the motto of Luís de Camões "Honest study mixed with long experience", reconciling the vast past of pedagogical, cultural and scientific tradition with the advanced requirements of modernity and technology, offering a wide range of training options in humanistic, scientific, technological and artistic areas, through about 36 first degrees, 76 masters and 31 doctorates.

Stop At: Urban and Traditional Center of Monsaraz, R. das Videiras, Monsaraz 7200-175 Portugal

Monsaraz

Towns and Villages

This extremely beautiful mediaeval town has succeeded in preserving its own distinctive characteristics over the centuries. Walking through the streets of Monsaraz is like going back in time, for it is a truly unique place where one can find all the peace and tranquillity that have been forgotten by the modern era.

The most immediate visual impression in the town is that of the whitewash and schist of its houses and buildings. Every year, throughout the month of July, Monsaraz becomes an open-air museum, affording visitors the opportunity to get to know more about the customs and habits used in the production of Alentejo handicraft, appreciate the delights of the regional cuisine and enjoy the various cultural events that are held there, including music, theatre, dance and art exhibitions.

As far as the town's architectural heritage is concerned, the highlights are the mediaeval castle and keep, the former court building (built between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries) and the parish church of Nossa Senhora da Lagoa (dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries).


Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Monsaraz Castle and Walls, Largo do Castelo, Monsaraz 7200-175 Portugal

The castle of Monsaraz is supposed to have been built by D. Dinis in 1310 on an existing defensive structure, which will have begun by a prehistoric castro and later by Roman, Visigothic and Arab constructions.

 

At the time of the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, during the reign of D. Afonso Henriques, this castle was conquered but would again fall into the hands of the Muslims, so that only in the reign of King Sancho II, in 1232, to definitively pass for Portuguese possession.

 

In this reconquest they participated the Knights of the Order of the Temple, to whom D. Sancho II donated the castle and its dominions. With the extinction of this Order, the castle passed to the Order of Christ and already in the reign of D. Dinis, was built the Tower of Menagem, that still today dominates the landscape.

 

During the Restoration War, the castle was adapted to the new realities of the war, with the creation of artillery stands.

Today, it is classified as a National Monument, it is a privileged viewpoint on the Alqueva Dam.


Duration: 1 hour
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Important Information
Departure Point
Traveler pickup is offered
The departure starts at your hotel, accommodation, airport, station or seaport in Lisbon District

Ports
Lisboa
Departure Time
9:00 AM
Duration
8h
Return Details
Returns to original departure point
Inclusions
  • Bottled water
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • WiFi on board
  • Private transportation
Exclusions
  • TICKETS NOT INCLUDED
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Additional Info
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
Cancellation Policy
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
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Our tour guide Luis was very knowledgeable, fun, and easy going. It has been one of our best tours in Portugal. Totally would recommend it!
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Response from U301EFcarlosr, Owner at PRIVATE TOUR ÉVORA E MONSARAZ
Responded 30 Jun 2019
Thank you for been such great customers.
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