Historic Centre of Évora

Historic Centre of Évora

This museum-city, whose roots go back to Roman times, reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese kings. Its unique quality stems from the whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos and wrought-iron balconies dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Its monuments had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Centre historique d'Évora

Cette ville-musée qui remonte à l'époque romaine a atteint son âge d'or au XVe siècle lorsqu'elle est devenue la résidence des rois de Portugal. Son caractère unique vient de ses maisons blanchies à la chaux et décorées d'azulejos et de balcons de fer forgé qui datent des XVIe-XVIIIe siècles. Ses monuments ont eu une influence décisive sur l'architecture portugaise au Brésil.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

وسط إيفورا التاريخي

بلغت هذه المدينة-المتحف المرتقية الى العهد الروماني عصرها الذهبي في القرن الخامس عشر حين أصبحت مقراً لملوك البرتغال. ويتمثل طابعها الفريد في منازلها البيضاء الكلسية والمزيّنة بالزليج وشرفات الحديد المطروق العائدة الى القرنين السادس عشر والثامن عشر، أما نصبها، فقد مارست تأثيراً واضحاً في الهندسة المعمارية البرتغالية في البرازيل.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0



source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Исторический центр города Эвора

Этот город-музей, история которого уходит корнями во времена Древнего Рима, достиг своего расцвета в XV в., когда он стал резиденцией португальских королей. Его уникальный облик формируется жилыми домами XVI-XVIII вв. с побеленными стенами, украшенным изразцами - «азулежуш» - и балконами из кованого железа. Памятники Эворы оказали большое влияние на португальскую архитектуру в Бразилии.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Centro histórico de Évora

Fundada en tiempos del Imperio Romano, esta ciudad-museo conoció su edad dorada en el siglo XV, cuando se convirtió en lugar de residencia de los reyes de Portugal. Sus casas de los siglos XVI al XVIII, encaladas y ornamentadas con azulejos y balcones de hierro forjado, le imprimen un carácter único. La arquitectura de Evora ejerció una influencia muy acusada en los monumentos y edificios construidos en el Brasil colonial.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


source: NFUAJ

Historische centrum van Évora

Évora is gevormd door ongeveer twintig eeuwen geschiedenis vanaf de tijd van de Kelten. De stad – met haar oorsprong in de Romeinse tijd – bereikte haar gouden periode in de 15e eeuw, toen het de residentie van de Portugese koningen werd. De unieke kwaliteit van de stad komt voort uit de witgekalkte huizen versierd met ‘azulejos’ (keramieken tegels met geschilderde taferelen) en smeedijzeren balkons uit de 16e tot de 18e eeuw. De monumenten hadden een diepgaande invloed op de Portugese architectuur in Brazilië. Tot de mooiste gebouwen behoren het Sint Claire klooster, de koninklijke kerk, het klooster van São Francisco en het paleis.

Source: unesco.nl

Historic Centre of Évora (Portugal) © José Emilio Guerreiro/Luis Ferreira
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Historic Centre of Évora, capital of the Alentejo Province, Portugal, has been shaped by more than twenty centuries of history, going as far back as Celtic times. It fell under Roman domination and still retains, among other ruins, those of the Temple of Diana. During the Visigoth period, the Christian city occupied the surface area surrounded by the Roman wall, which was then reworked. Under Moorish domination, which came to an end in 1165, further improvements were made to the original defensive system as shown by a fortified gate and the remains of the ancient Kasbah. There are a number of buildings from the medieval period, the best known of which is the Cathedral that was completed in the 13th century. But it was in the 15th century, when the Portuguese kings began living in Évora on an increasingly regular basis that Évora’s golden age began. At that time, convents and royal palaces sprung up everywhere: St Claire Convent, the royal church and convent of São Francisco, not far from the royal palace of the same name, and Os Lóios Convent with the São João Evangelista Church. These are remarkable monuments that were either entirely new buildings or else constructed within already existing establishments, and which are characterised by the Manueline style that survived in the major creations of the 16th century.

When the University of the Holy Spirit, where the Jesuits taught from 1553 onwards, was established, Évora became Portugal’s second city. However, the university’s rapid decline began following the expulsion of the Company of Jesus by minister Marquis of Pombal, in 1759.

Évora is also remarkable for reasons other than its monumental heritage related to significant historic events. The 16th century was a time of major urban planning and great intellectual and religious influence. While Évora also has many noteworthy 16th-century patrician houses (Cordovil house, the house of Garcia de Resende), the unique quality of the city arises from the coherence of the minor architecture of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. This unity finds its overall expression in the form of numerous low whitewashed houses, decorated with Dutch tiles and wrought-iron balconies and covered with tile roofs or terraces which line narrow streets of medieval configuration and which in other areas bears witness to the concentric growth of the town until the 17th century. It also served to strengthen the fundamental unity of a type of architecture that is perfectly adapted to the climate and the location.

Évora remained mainly undamaged by the great earthquake of 1755 that destroyed many towns in Portugal, including Lisbon. The monuments of the Historic Centre of Évora bear witness to their profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil. 

Criterion (ii): The cityscape of the Historic Centre of Évora is a unique place for understanding the influence exerted by Portuguese architecture in Brazil, in sites such as the Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahía.

Criterion (iv): The Historic Centre of Évora is the finest example of a city of the golden age of Portugal after the destruction of Lisbon by the 1755 earthquake. 


Évora has been inhabited since the 2nd century B.C. During the Middle Ages, it was the royal residence for long periods of time and gained prestige in the 16th century when it was elevated to an ecclesiastical city. Notwithstanding the significant urban changes that occurred through the centuries, Évora still bears testimony to different aesthetic styles.

In spite of the sharp population growth that led to the construction of new quarters to the west, south and east, the Historic Centre of Évora has retained its characteristics within the Vauban-style wall built in the 17th century according to the plans of Nicolas de Langres, a French engineer. Also, the road network that was built around the city walls in the 20th century has contributed to its preservation. Évora’s overall integrity has been preserved in terms of both its individual monuments and its townscape. The rural landscape to the north has remained largely unchanged. 


Ever since the city walls were classified in 1920 under national law, conservation measures were implemented in accordance with internationally recognised principles. Despite the transformations the city went through in the 20th century, most of its buildings have preserved their structural authenticity and the morphology of the city block has been preserved. Adaptation to modern times has not jeopardized the authenticity of the urban setting. 

Protection and management requirements

The Department of the Historic Centre of the Municipality of Évora has the responsibility for over-seeing the implementation of the management plan and monitoring its effectiveness. Its annual working budget comes mostly from the municipality, yet there are several other financial sources such as the Regional Directorate for Culture of the Alentejo and the Directorate General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC).

In order to ensure enforcement of the Law as the basis for the policy and system of rules for protection and enhancement of cultural heritage (Law no. 107 of 8 September 2001), the Decree no. 140 of 15 June 2009 established the legal framework for studies, projects, reports, works or interventions on classified cultural assets. It determined, as a rule, the need for a prior and systematic assessment and monitoring of any works that are likely to affect the property’s integrity so as to avoid any disfigurement, dilapidation, and loss of physical features or authenticity. This is ensured by appropriate and strict planning, by qualified staff, of any techniques, methodologies and resources to be used for implementation of works on cultural properties.

According to no. 7, Article 15, Law 107 of 8 September 2001 «Immovable assets considered cultural assets under the World Heritage List shall at all times pertain to the national interest asset inventory for all purposes thereof and within their respective categories».

Similarly, Decree no. 309 of 23 October 2009 equates buffer zones with special protection zones, which benefit from adequate restrictions for the protection and enhancement of cultural properties.

The Municipality of Évora, in cooperation with the national authorities, is studying the modification of the buffer zone of the property that corresponds to the setting of the city, which will be a crucial measure to ensure that the conditions of authenticity and integrity continue to be met.