Wednesday, July 17: This morning, I meander out in the town knowing there’s a lot to see and hoping throughout the day to hit most of it. I don’t even have much of a plan; I just start walking and soon I run into the Universidade de Evora, unmarked, with its door open to the world. I have heard from my friend Jo that there are some nice cloisters here, so I go in search of them.
The current university, which was reopened in 1973, descends from the original Jesuit institution founded in 1559. Two hundred years after its founding, in 1759, due to the Jesuit expulsion promoted by the Minister of the Kingdom, Marquis of Pombal, it was closed.
I love the painted entryway.
The doorway is flanked by azulejos (hand-painted tiles) for which Portugal is famous.
Azulejo is a form of Portuguese painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework. It has been produced without interruption for five centuries. The azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even railway stations. They are applied on walls, floors and even ceilings. They are not only used as an ornamental art form, but also have a specific function of temperature control. Many azulejos chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of Portuguese history. (Wikipedia: Azulejo)
It’s only as I wander through the halls of higher learning that I figure out it is, in fact, the university. Here’s one clue!
Inside are the beautiful arched, Italian Renaissance-style cloisters that Jo told me about.
And here’s me, resting with the azulejos, before venturing back into the town.