There is plenty to see in Portugal’s largest province, and my husband and I have spent the past week exploring its nooks and crannies. With its evocative suite of Roman and medieval buildings, Évora’s cathedral square proved an ideal place to launch our tour through Antelejano history. These Gothic sculptures stand sentinel at the cathedral’s entrance.
St. Mary’s Cathedral has played a significant role in the city since the 13th century. Its main portal is made of Brazilian wood. The building’s interior construction is of granite, horizontally striped with painted plaster interstices.
Reading stands are footed with inlaid marble. Paintings from the region’s monasteries and convents—closed by government decree in 1834—line the walls.
The tubular organ, with its pipes placed horizontally to imitate the trumpets of Jericho, gained its claim to fame when played by a visiting Jesuit-sponsored delegation from Japan in one hundred years later.
A climb up the tower offers a fine view of Évora; walks through the cathedral’s cloister and small museum round out a visit to the complex.
Guide Lucia van der Feltz helped me understand something of the history of Évora’s cathedral and its surroundings, before we headed off to visit other parts of the city. She provided excellent background for other historic sites in Alentejo province, as well. The local branch of the Alentejo tourist office is well equipped to book similar tours or provide audio guides for the region, as well as much, much more information about this wonderful city.
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