sights uncovered
Travel with Tessa

Evora – Portugal

Evora, the capital of the Alentejo region of Portugal, sits on relatively flat ground surrounded by medieval walls that have survived virtually untouched throughout the ages.
On a sunny spring Sunday, its blinding-white buildings sparkled in the sunshine. Their pristine whiteness accentuates a contrast with the Roman temple and the Sé Cathedral, with its rose-colored towers.


We strolled along the main street that delivers one to Praϛa de Giraldo, a beautiful colonnaded square with a fountain at its center, and yellow and white buildings where stores occupy the ground floor, and homes, fronted with patterned, black, wrought-iron balconies, occupy the upper floors.

No Portuguese town square is complete without restaurants and coffee shops that spill onto the square. Praϛa de Giraldo beckons one to settle down at a café, soak up the atmosphere, and watch the parade of people go by.
Igreja (Church) Santa Antâo dominates the one end of the square, and on the opposite end stands the elegant Banco de Portugal. Founded in 1846 during the reign of Queen Maria II of Portugal, it is one of the oldest banks in the world.

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At the center of the square, a Baroque marble fountain with eight spouts represents the eight streets leading to and from Praϛa de Giraldo. It also marks the original spot where water flowed from the aqueducts outside the ancient city walls. Don’t overlook the incredibly realistic metal tree in front of the colonnade.
During the 13th century, the square was situated outside the city walls and was the town’s meeting place where the weekly market was held.
In the 15th century, the Duke of Braganza was beheaded in the square by his brother-in-law, King John II, for plotting with Spain to overthrow him as ruler of Portugal. In the 16th century, during the Spanish Inquisition, brutal murders took place in Praϛa de Giraldo.


Rua de Outubro, lined with trinket stores and restaurants, winds its way uphill to the 1st-century Roman temple where many of the original Roman columns still stand. The temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus rests on a pedestal overlooking tranquil Conde de Vila Flor Square, often referred to as the Gardens of Dianna. The far end of the gardens offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.


Sé Cathedral, with its three asymmetrical cone-shaped towers, is the largest medieval cathedral in Portugal and well worth a visit. Built out of rose-colored granite, it was constructed in the late 12th century. Centuries later, it was enlarged, reflecting the Gothic style, and received many additions until the 18th century when the pale pink marble from nearby Estremoz was introduced.


The cloisters were built in the Gothic style in the early to mid-14th century.

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Ready for a late lunch, we retraced our steps along Rua de Outubro in search of a restaurant. For me, no meal is complete without an array of well-prepared vegetables. In Portugal, the only vegetables that are served are boiled cabbage, broccoli, and potatoes cooked in every imaginable manner.
When I saw a sign on the window of a little nondescript restaurant that announced: “LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO EAT CHIPS EVERY DAY. WE SERVE OUR FOOD WITH VEGETABLES,” I knew we’d come to the right place.
I was greeted by a charming waitress who said she’d ask the chef and owner, Jorge if we could join the diners in his cozy, atmospheric restaurant. All the food is prepared and served by Jorge, a superb and highly gifted chef. All the organic produce comes directly from local farmers, and the freshest, highest quality meat and fish are prepared to perfection. His presentation on black slate slabs is a work of art, and the flavors and combinations are sublime. We were fortunate that Jorge could accommodate us for a late Sunday afternoon lunch. I highly recommend that one reserve a table in advance.


Momentos – Rua 5 de Outubro, 61 B
Telephone # (+351) 925-161423