Portugal – Evora City Tour, Kissing Stones, and a Lot of Bones

May 21st – Evora, Portugal

This morning we appreciated a guided tour of Evora, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. I got a kick out of our guide calling the cross walks zebras…

"zebra" crosswalk

“zebra” cross walk

The black and white stones are so common in the street and sidewalk designs here in Portugal that I started taking them for granted. It must have taken an incredible amount of labor to have laid all of these in the first place. 

“The city of Évora is marked by the historic square in the Praça do Geraldo, where King Duarte constructed the Estaus Palace. The square is marked by the Henriquina fountain, dating to 1570, that includes eight jets symbolizing the eight streets that lead to the square.”  ~ Wikipedia

Fountain

Henriquina Fountain

The Romans conquered the town of Evora back in 57 BC and there are still ancient ruins to be found in the city.

Roman Temple

Roman Temple (Temple of Diana)

And the kissing stones with a view of the city below.

Kissing stones

Kissing stones

The early Cathedral of Evora was mainly built between 1280 and 1340 and is one of the most important Gothic monuments in Portugal.

Interior of Evora Cathedral

Interior of Evora Cathedral

interior of Evora Cathedral

Interior of Evora Cathedral

One of the more interesting features on the inside was a rare image of Mary being shown as pregnant.

Mary being shown pregnant

Mary being shown pregnant

From the Cathedral Museum

From the Cathedral Museum

The Sao Francisco Church is simple and rather unassuming from the outside. Imagine your surprise if you were not expecting to visit the famous Ossuary chapel or Capela de Ossos, whose walls are decorated with thousands of human bones and skulls.

S Church

Soa Francisco Church

It is rather macabre, but fascinating nonetheless. Above the door is written, “We bones that here are, for yours await”.

Chapel of Bones

Chapel of Bones

“Its walls and eight pillars are decorated in carefully arranged bones and skulls held together by cement. The ceiling is made of white-painted brick and is painted with death motifs. The number of skeletons of monks was calculated to be about 5000, coming from the cemeteries that were situated inside several dozen churches.” ~ Wikipedia

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I hope you are not too tired of church pictures (but heaven knows there have been a LOT of them from Portugal), but here are a couple more from the main chapel.

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Once again the scenery was spectacular as we proceeded on the last leg of our bus journey toward Lisbon.

Spectacular wildflowers and cork trees

Spectacular wildflowers and cork trees

The cork trees were everywhere in this region. Here is an example of what one looks like after a layer of cork has been removed. This is a type of oak tree, and can be harvested every 9 years. The last digit of the year the cork is removed is often spray painted onto the side of the tree so that they know when to harvest again. Most trees will yield 5-6 good crops over their lifetime.

Cork Tree

Cork Tree

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe (over 2,000 years old) and has been the capital of Portugal since 1147. For you soccer (football) fans, we had a fun surprise when we arrived at our hotel, as the Porto Soccer team was staying there and their bus was parked out front.

Porto Soccer team bus

Porto Soccer team bus

Tim and I had a front row seat when the team left for practice and returned later in the evening. The local police blocked the street and gave an escort complete with lights and sirens.

Hotel room in Lisbon

Hotel room in Lisbon at the Altis Grand Hotel

Overnight: Lisbon – Altis Grand Hotel

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that my camera batteries were fully charged, that the weather was sunny, that seeing a bunch of old bones does not freak me out, and that watching the local celebrity status of a soccer team gave me a chuckle.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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20 Responses to Portugal – Evora City Tour, Kissing Stones, and a Lot of Bones

  1. Trish Hatcher says:

    Those bones!!!! So very cool!

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  2. There is another ossuary in Campo Maior, and a small one in Monforte. Evora is an amazing town, with some interesting megaliths in the surrounding countryside. Do linger longer next time, and consider hiring a car and staying in the Pousadas!

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    • Candy, I like your suggestion. Portugal became a blur for me. I know part of the reason was taking all the cold meds to keep going, but I would love to return some day and be able to go at a slower pace and fill in a lot of blanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Moira and Mike Murray says:

    Tim and Joanne: We are enjoying your blog! We are showing it to our friends until we can get our own photo story worked on. It was great meeting both of you on our recent trip to Portugal. Mike is still recuperating from his cold (which turns out was pneumonia).
    Moira and Mike Murray

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    • Hi Moira and Mike! We were concerned that was more than a cold. Hopefully a doctor has pumped Mike full of appropriate meds and he is well on the way to making a full recovery. We too enjoyed meeting you. Thank you for sharing our pictures with your friends! Sending hugs and best wishes ~ T&J

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  4. I am not tired at all of church photos! They are stunning. And the ossuary is fascinating as well.

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  5. Portugal is not the only country to refer to a pedestrian crossing as a zebra crossing

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  6. Pingback: #216 Bones – You Inspire Me

  7. Erin says:

    Thank you for your post! My Mom and Dad visited Evora last year. I’m expecting my first baby, a girl, and they suggested the name Evora. My husband and I instantly fell in love with it! I’m enjoying reading all the info on the name and about the city itself. If we use it we’ll definitely have to someday take our little Evora to the city of her namesake!

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