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Praça do Giraldo

Praca do Giraldo - Evora's main square, with its picturesque stone arches, is flanked by some fine examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.  This place is central to the city's life and this is where tourists can mingle with locals in the cafes and restaurants which line the square.  It is a great place for sitting and watching the world go by.

The square is named after Geraldo Geraldes, who in 1167 expelled the Moors from Evora. In the 13th century this was a marketplace, and later it became the scene of gruesome and tragic historical events.  In 1484 the Duke of Braganza, brother-in-law to King Joao II of Portugal was executed here for treason.  In the 16th century the square was used for Auto-da-Fe ritual burnings of supposed heretics at the order of the Spanish Inquisition.

Praça do Giraldo - Évora

Praça do Giraldo

Paolo Querci

In the cobbled centre of the square is the Fonte Henriquina, a 16th century Baroque marble fountain which is worth closer inspection.  This fountain is thought to have been the source of the Agua de Prata Aqueduto (Aqueduct of Silver Water).  Note the crown topping the fountain, which is said to have been placed there on the orders of King Philip II of Spain, husband of Mary I of England. The eight streams of water flowing from the fountain represent the eight streets leading out of the square. 

Other interesting features around the square include a building which was once part of the Estus Palace (now housing a tourist office) and the Church of Santo Antão with its unusual, marble high altar.