Thursday, October 12, 2006

Evora, Spain

1 hour 45 minutes from Lisbon is Evora, a Unesco world heritage listed medieval walled city.

Skofia Loka is apparently Slovenia's 'best preserved' medieval city, so I was keen to seen how different it would be.

Evora was a lot larger than Skofia Loka, and because we weren't visiting on a Sunday, everything was open! We arrived around midday, and after visiting the tourist office where the person just circled the sites she thought would be worth visiting rather perfunctorily.

First stop, just before Siesta, was Capela dos Ossos at St Francis Church. Oh boy. Also known as the chapel of bones. Its a small 3 nave chapel, built entirely out of the bones of soldiers who have died fighting in wars. Not by anarchists, or someone who wanted to rebel against society, but by Franciscan monks. Not only that, they built it in secret to show that all men are equal in death. Of course when the general public found out about it, there was a huge outcry because they didn't know who was in there, or which bones belonged to which

The windows and domed ceiling have archways of skulls, and the window boxes have smashed bits of skull set into the wall. The archways around the doorways are built from stacked up femurs. It is really bizzare, imagining these monks heading & robbing graveyards of their inhabitants.

Visited the temple of Diana. Passed on the Evora Cathedral, despite it being recommended by the blase tourist office and the Lonley Planet. Revisted the interior of St Francis Church (the non bony bit) after Siesta, and then it was time to head back to Lisbon and try on more shoes...

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