Formerly initially the Romans named it “Ebora Cerelis” linking the place to the importance of the Alentejo(Province) plains for growing wheat. It was also known as Ebora by the Lusitanians, who made the town their regional capital. In 414 the Visigoths captured Évora from the defending Romans. They in turn were eventually evicted by the Moors led by Aziz in 713. The subsequently well fortified town was captured from the Moors by the famous Portuguese general, Geraldo Sem Pavor in 1165.
In last times the King Afonso IV resided here with his Court for 14 years, and also later Manuel I until 1511.
In 1663 Dom Joao de Áustria lead his Spanish army into the town putting to death most of the inhabitants. The city was later to be recaptured by the Portuguese army with the help of English forces.
The town of Evora became the seat of an archbishopric in 1540. The university was founded by the Jesuits in 1559, and it was here that great European Masters such as the Flemish humanists:
• Nicolaus Clenardus (Nicolaas Cleynaerts) (1493-1542),
• Johannes Vasaeus (Jan Was) (1511-1561) and
• The theologian Luis de Molina
passed on their knowledge.
On 18th century its influence waned when the University was closed and expulsion of the Jesuits. In the town are several interesting buildings and in the surrounding countryside ancient archaeological. This region around Évora include with signs of the Roman occupation and also older Megaliths, dated between BC 4.000 to 2.000. However the region has always been an agricultural area there are several large private estates with their respective manor houses.
The several monuments designed by major artists of each period now testify to Évora's lively cultural and rich artistic and historical heritage. The great variety of architectural styles (Baroque, Renaissance, Manueline, Gothic, Romanesque), the palaces and the picturesque labirinth of squares and narrow streets of the city centre are all part of the rich heritage of this museum town of Evora.