The Roman Temple of Evora
The Roman Temple of Evora, part of the historic centre of Evora, is an amazing and well-preserved symbol of the Roman presence in Portugal.
The Roman Temple of Evora, built in the 1st century AD, is part of the historic centre classified World Heritage Site by UNESCO of Evora, one of most important cities of Alentejo and a district capital. Nearby are the Cathedral, the Lóios Church and Convent, the Inquisition Court, the Public Library and the Museum. Roman Temple of Evora is one of the city’s symbols, along with the Chapel of Bones.
The amazing Roman Temple of Evora
Symbol of the Roman presence in the Portuguese territory, it is also known as Temple of Diana, after the Roman Goddess of Hunting. Curiously, it is believed that the temple was built in honor of the emperor August, who was revered as a god in his time and that the association with Diana was born out of a history created by a priest during the XVII century.
The existing ruins are all that is left from the Roman forum that used to be called Liberatias lulia. Built in marble from Estremoz and granite, the temple is surrounded by Corinthian columns placed on a podium – still in a perfect state – that measures 15m x 25 m x 3,5m. Although the façade columns disappeared completely, there are still fourteen granite columns left. The southern side of the Temple used to have a staircase that is now in ruins.
Throughout the centuries, the Roman Temple of Evora suffered several changes that started with the Barbarian invasions in the 5th century and continued in the Middle Ages, namely in the 14th century, when it became the vault of the city castle, being integrated in the medieval construction.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, the surrounding medieval buildings were demolished and the Roman Temple was recovered and regained its original appearance.
In the 20th century some archaeological excavations were carried out, revealing traces of a portico and a reflection pool that used to surround the Roman Temple.