Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

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Évora at night

The Temple Of Diana And The Witch Of Évora

In the World Heritage Site of Évora, the capital of Portugal's south-central Alentejo region, one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the Iberian Peninsula dominates the centre of a large plaza at the high point of the hilly city. Surrounded by imposing buildings constructed more than a millennium later, the so-called Temple of Diana resembles an evocative movie set or a virtual-reality time warp, but things are not always as they appear to be.

The Roman Temple of Diana in the square ( Alvesgaspar/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

The ‘Temple of Diana’ Or Imperial Cult

A street winds around two sides of the colonnaded temple, which is surrounded on three sides by looming 15th and 16th century buildings, including the Palace of the Inquisitor, the Court of the Inquisition, the Church of St John the Evangelist, and the Convent of Loios. These massive, gleaming white buildings, with their rows of large, granite-framed rectangular windows, seem to be forming a protective bulwark against an ancient pagan faith whose energy still radiates from the ruined temple. The juxtapositions of architecture style and religious traditions are jarring.


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