Evora Stones and the Chapel of Bones

We have been looking forward to the area around Evora for a while now. It’s a great place for megaaaaaalith (sat nav speak) watching and it didn’t disappoint. We found the major sites of Almendres (a large stone circle) and Zambujeiro (a poorly reconstructed burial chamber with 6 metre high walls) and another very impressive one, the Cromeleque de Vale Maria do Meio which was our favourite as we just happened upon it by mistake.
Vale Maria do Meio
Menhir of Almendres

Almendres stone

Almendres stone circle

Almendres was a magical place especially as we found a 5 euro note as we were leaving. Perhaps the elves (or Portuguese equivalent) may have been thanking us for the figs we left for them at the base of the stones. The find was spent on some rather tasty pastis de nata at the café de Sao Miguel in Evora, and I splashed some of my own cash on a new pair of sunnies thanks to the superior skills of the salesman in the glasses shop.
rock booty

Pillar in the Cappella dos Ossos
The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site but we couldn’t help feeling it has been rather badly hit by the recession. The streets were dirty and the sites were a little shabby but an interesting place all the same. The Chapel of Bones was particularly interesting if a little gruesome. Over 5,000 monks bones line the walls and normally there are a couple of mummified bodies hanging from the sides but they were off for restoration when we visited.

The Roman Temple sits next to a church and several dozen used condoms sat next to Dickie in the carpark. Thank god Hugo did not develop a taste for the rubbery remnants. He tends to eat anything he finds on the ground, especially if it once resided in the colon of a cat or fox.
Temple of Jupiter Evora

several dead monks

wall of bones
Yesterday we stumbled upon Escoural cave. It is closed unless you make an appointment and we were lucky enough to time it just as a group arrived. After donning some extremely attractive headgear we entered the cave to view some 5000 - 6000 year old cave art. We sat on the shaman’s seat where he would have sat to carve a set of horses in motion, and saw a skull protruding from the soil along with an urn, both of which were too fragile to remove. Our friendly guide blew us a kiss as we left – a little bit of icing on our daily cake. Finally, after much pfaffing about, we found the chapel of Sao Brissos which has been built around a group of dolmen.
dolmen used as walls to chapel
Dolmen Chapel at Sao Brissos
Pre Hard Hat at Escoural

Next, on to Monsaraz.

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