Fast Facts

  • Location: About 110 km east of Lisbon.
  • Best time to Visit: Throughout the year.
  • Preferred Timing: Daytime
  • How to Reach: By train from Lisbon: alternatively by bus or car
  • Nearest International Airport: Lisbon Portela Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Evora
  • Time required for sightseeing: 2 days

No matter how far and wide have traveled in the world, you will never come across the macabre solemnity of such dimension unless you visit the Franciscan chapel in Evora, Portugal. Decorated meticulously of human bones and skulls, this chapel is a strong reminder of human mortality and the fleeting nature of all human endeavors.

Historic Center of Evora in Portugal has immense historical, religious, and archaeological significance. Discovery of megaliths dating back to 4000 BC and the Roman city of Liberalitas Julia of which existed around 80 BC underlines the archaeological importance of Evora. A cathedral and a Roman temple, along with the above mentioned Franciscan chapel suggest the religious significance of this place. The town, though small, has an intriguing combination of Baroque, Gothic, Romanesque, Roman, Renaissance, and Manueline architectural patterns. Whether you are an architect, a historian, an archaeologist, or clergy you will discover something to make your visit to Evora, a UNESCO world heritage site near Lisbon, a lifetime event.

Evora in Portugal, at an approximate distance of 110 km east of Lisbon, can be reached by road or rail. It would take you three hours by train from Lisbon to Evora, two hours by bus and around ninety minutes by car. When you enter this walled city you virtually travel through centuries of history spanning from 4000 BC to 21st century.

At the Cromeleque dos Almendres or Megaliths, you will be wonderstruck by the circular arrangement of 92 upright stone blocks belonging to the Neolithic period from 5000 — 4000 B.C. The city of Evora was the headquarters of Roman commander Quintus Sertorius between 80 and 72 B.C. Roman dominance of this city is testified by the remains of Temple of Diana, locally called Templo de Diana. You will be amazed at the huge and graceful Corinthian columns made from granite. These 14 columns of Diana Temple that are still standing, withstood an earthquake in 1755.

Visit the Church of Our Lady of Grace or ‘Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Graí§a’, a 15th-century building characterized by Baroque architecture with neoclassical columns in the lower levels and stone rosettes flanking the central window shaft. The faí§ade featuring massive ‘Atlases’ will surprise you. This church can only be seen from outside.

If you feel somewhat dejected of not being able to visit the inside of Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Graí§a, then the inside of Royal Church of St. Francis (Igreja Real de Sí£o Francisco) will leave you exasperated. The Chapel of Bones or ‘Capela dos Ossos’ has its pillars and walls lined with human skulls and bones. Also, make a careful note of two full corpses hanging from near the chapel’s ceiling. This church with Manueline and Gothic architectural styles was constructed between 1460 and 1510 A.D. Pay € 1 to enter Royal Church of St. Francis which remains open daily from 8:30 am to 1 pm and from 2:30 pm till 6 pm.

If you have a panache for architecture, then Evora Síé Cathedral will impress you with its outstanding combination of Romanesque and Gothic architectures. Initially constructed in the Romanesque style between 1186 and 1204 it was renovated in the Gothic style in the early 15th century. The faí§ade of two asymmetrical towers on either side of the huge doorway stands out. The portal arch consisting of idols of 12 apostles is remarkable. You need to pay an entrance fee of € 1 to visit Síé Cathedral on all days between 8:30 am and 1 pm, and between 2:30 pm and 6 pm. On Mondays, the Cathedral Museum remains closed.

When you are in Evora treat yourself to delicious traditional cuisines like ‘Carne de Porco an alentejana’, a preparation of pork with clams and coriander, or ‘aí§orda de marisco’, a shellfish panda preparation, or ‘migas’ a recipe of fried pork and bread soups. You certainly cannot afford to miss Avis, Borba, Evora, Moura, and Portalegre wines on your visit the world heritage city of Evora.

Related Links : A wonderful guided tour to the cathedral and the chapel, along with detailed views of the interior of this eerie architecture. Check it out! For a comprehensive view of the ancient and historic town of Evora with all its major attractions including the Chapel of the Bones, watch this video! Wonderful music too!

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