One of the notable cultural destinations to visit in Portugal is the Roman Temple of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Évora. Located in the parish of Sé e São Pedro, the temple is an ancient landmark situated in the city’s center. The site is one of the most important structures remaining from the Roman civilizations of Évora.
The temple is also known as the Templo de Diana and although there is not much supporting evidence, it has long been associated with the Roman goddess of hunting, Diana. Another theory is that the temple was dedicated to the Roman god Jupiter.
The temple is close to many religious structures related the Inquisition period. Some of these buildings include Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval, the Court of the Inquisition, Sé Cathedral, the Palace of the Inquisitor, and the Church and Lóios’ Convent.
Built in the main square of the city, the temple was built in the 1st century A.D. and modified later in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. In the 5th century the Germanic peoples invaded the city and destroyed the temple and left it in ruins. Over the years the ruined temple was used as a source of stones for other building ventures and in the Middle Ages the structure was eventually incorporated into a tower of the Castle of Évora. The renewed structure was used as a butcher shop up till 1836.
In 1840 some of the buildings that were added to the original temple were demolished and the resulting archeological excavation that followed revealed a primitive aqueduct. In 1872 the medieval architectural additions to the temple where removed and the temple began to be restored. In the late 20th century more excavations were performed near the temple under the German archeologist, Theodor Hauschild.
The temple is mounted on stone platform, and includes many original granite Corinthian columns, with marble capitals and decorative carvings. Adjacent to the temple is the façade of São João Evangelista in the medieval style and garden.
The remaining temple mainly consists of the granite base, the ruins of a staircase, a colonnade, and additional columns. Late 20th century excavations show that the temple also included a reflecting pool and a hexastyle portico.
You can visit this rich historical site which is located in Évora’s Largo Conde de Vila Flor square. The temple is at the city’s highest point and therefore easy to locate. Tourists can visit at any time of the day and there is no entrance fee.