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…
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
The Romans conquered the town of Evora back in 57 BC and there are still ancient ruins to be found in the city.
And the kissing stones with a view of the city below.
The early Cathedral of Evora was mainly built between 1280 and 1340 and is one of the most important Gothic monuments in Portugal.
One of the more interesting features on the inside was a rare image of Mary being shown as pregnant.
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.
It is rather macabre, but fascinating nonetheless. Above the door is written, “We bones that here are, for yours await”.
“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
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.
Once again the scenery was spectacular as we proceeded on the last leg of our bus journey toward Lisbon.
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.
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.
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.
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.