Evora Town Hall is not only the stage of political activities but also of discoveries of its architecture during visits from tourists and people who live in town. The building of Evora Town Hall is an old palace and invites you in.
Since the beginning of the creation of the municipality, the political decisions were not always made here, in Praça do Sertório (Sertório Square), like today. Evora Town Hall existed, in the 14th century, in ecclesiastical facilities near Evora Cathedral.
With the decadence of the building came the need to move to a Town Hall in what is today Praça do Giraldo (Giraldo Square), built with that function in mind by King Manuel I, in the beginning of the 16th century. The political and judicial power in Evora remained there until 1881, next to the Jail, which today is home of the Banco de Portugal (Bank of Portugal) in this town. It’s impossible not to notice it when you are in Evora’s main square.
Finally, in the above-mentioned year, because the location was considered inappropriate, Evora Town Hall moved again, to the building where it is today, in Sertorio Square. For this purpose, it was bought from the Condes de Sortelha (Sortelha Counts), who had named it Palácio dos Martins da Silveira (Martins da Silveira Palace).
So, at that time, the Evora Town Hall building was a noble house with a large patio, a fountain, granite stairs, a stable, a winery, a garden and a tower of Moorish wall. The bedrooms were on the upper floor.
With the purchase, constructions were held. However, these did not fully cover all the needs of the municipal and judicial services. For that reason, in 1908, there was a remodelling project of Evora Town Hall, completed in the first years of the following decade.
The remodelling gave the building the look which you can see still today. Among the many changes, some stand out: the big lobby, the staircase and metallic roof which you will find as soon as you come in, the balcony and the Noble Hall.
Recently, in 1987, in an attempt to make a cafeteria for the staff in the File Room occupying part of the ground floor, the workers found Roman baths. In the historic centre of Evora, these kinds of archeological findings are extremely common.
Be sure to visit the interior of Evora Town Hall and its Roman Baths. It’s free to enter the building. Go in through the front door after you watch the beautiful facade.
Read the inscriptions on both sides of the door and notice the oldest coat of arms used by the municipality, at the very top of the building. It represents brave Geraldo Sem Pavor (Fearless Geraldo), who conquered Evora from the Moors in 1167. Today, our visitors’ hearts are conquered by Evora. Do surrender.