Roman Temple of Évora

Roman Temple of Évora

The Roman Temple of Évora is located in the city of Évora, in Portugal. The temple is part of the historical centre of the city, classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of the most famous landmarks of Évora, and a symbol of Roman presence in Portuguese territory.


Although the Roman temple of Évora is often called Temple of Diana, any association with the Roman goddess of hunt stems not from archaeology but from a legend created in the 17th century by a Portuguese priest. [ [ "Portugal Dicionário histórico": ", "s.v." "Fialho (Manuel)"] ] [ [ Legend attributed to historian Father Manuel Fialho (1646–1718), in a manuscript called "Évora illustrada" that was edited and published in Rome, as "Evora gloriosa" (1728).] ] In reality, the temple was probably built in honour of Emperor Augustus, who was venerated as a god during and after his rule. The temple was built in the 1st century AD in the main public square (forum) of Évora - then called "Liberatias Iulia" – and modified in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Évora was invaded by Germanic peoples in the 5th century, and at this time the temple was destroyed. Nowadays its ruins are the only built vestiges of the Roman forum, in an open square fronted by the cathedral and the bishop's palace.

The ruins of the temple were incorporated into a tower of Évora Castle during the Middle Ages. The base, columns and architraves of the temple were kept embedded in the walls of the medieval building; [ [ Description at the Évora Municipality website.] ] the temple-turned-tower was used as a butcher shop from the 14th century until 1836. This new use of the temple structure helped preserve its remains from further destruction. [ [ Description at the Évora Municipality website.] ; [ Description at the DGEMN website.] ] Finally, after 1871, the medieval additions were removed. Restoration work was directed by Italian architect Giuseppe Cinatti.


The original temple was probably similar to the Maison Carrée in Nîmes (France). [ [ of the Évora temple] ] The Évora temple still has its complete base (the "podium"), made of both regular and irregular granite stone blocks. The base is of rectangular shape and measures 15 m x 25 m x 3.5 m of height. [ [ Description at the IPPAR website.] ] The southern side of the base used to have a staircase, now ruined.

The portico of the temple, now missing, was originally hexastyle, six columns across. A total of fourteen granite columns are still standing on the north side (back) of the base; many of the columns still have their Corinthian-style capitals sustaining the architrave. The capitals and the bases of the columns are made of marble from nearby Estremoz, while the columns and architrave are made of granite. Recent excavations indicate that the temple was surrounded by a water basin. [ [ of the Évora temple] ]

Geographical Co-ordinates



* - Roman temple in the Évora Municipality website
* - Évora Temple in the website of the Portuguese Institute of Architectonic Heritage (IPPAR)
* - General Direction of National Monuments and Buildings (DGEMN-Portugal)

External links

* [ - Virtual reconstruction of the Évora Temple and forum]
* [ - Évora temple at the Waymarking website]
* [ - Évora temple at Sacred Destinations website]
* [ Évora temple in a 1835 drawing]
* [ - Évora temple in a 1870] drawing

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