One of the highlights of Évora in the Alentejo region of Portugal is the Templo Romano de Diana, a Roman temple dedicated to Venus, the goddess of love (so legend has it). The temple is situated on the edge of Jardim do Paco in the heart of the city, amid spacious lawns, pretty flower beds and minimalistic sculptures.
Évora can trace its roots back to over 2,000 years ago and the Roman remains, built originally circa the second century AD are testament to that fact.
The temple is incredibly well preserved even though it spent many years as an execution ground and slaughterhouse throughout the times of the Inquisition until 1870. Grim stuff.
There are 14 columns still standing atop a small platform, exposed to the sun all day long making close up photography a little difficult (for those who enjoy such things).
Jardim do Paco is a lovely setting and houses a small kiosk selling snacks and refreshments; small abstract sculptures (a popular trend in Évora) are dotted about the square and intersecting pathways lead to a fountain at the north end where views of the more modern side of the city can be viewed. A few hundred metres beyond that lie the wide open spaces of Alentejo’s grape growing lands. To the south is the impressive Sé, Évora’s magnificent cathedral.
Portugal’s history is diverse and colourful, steeped in the blood of wars, conquests and revolutions; Templo Romano de Diana has seen it all come and go and still remains to watch the hordes of tourists come flooding in every year, a true historical treasure set in the crown of a beautifully maintained city that defies the modern urge to bury the past under characterless glass and metal.
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