The Church of San Francisco
The Church of San Francisco in Évora is one of the most beautiful churches in Portugal, it is a building of Gothic-Manueline architecture and whose construction took place between 1480 and 1510, having been the responsibility of the masters of Martim quarry.
Lourenço and Pero de Trilho are decorated by the royal painters Francisco Henriques, Jorge Afonso and Garcia Fernandes.
It is a building closely linked to the historical events that marked the period of Portuguese maritime expansion. This link is evident in the magnificent vaulted nave where one can observe the Cross of the Order of Christ, and the emblems of the founding kings, D. John II and D. Manuel I.
The convent of San Francisco de Évora was said to be the first house of the Franciscan Order in Portugal, having been founded in the 12th century, so the Church of San Francisco that came to us is not the original, but the one that resulted from the remodeling that began at the end of the 15th century. The three ships were replaced by a single ship covered by a daring Gothic-Manueline vault, about 24 meters high.
It came to be elevated to the category of Royal Chapel, and the Convent received the title of Convent of Gold, since the Royal Family decorated it richly. Although in the period of the Philippine dominion (1580-1640) the convent has known less prosperous times, it was in this period that the famous Chapel of Bones was built.
Inside the church stands out for: the long nave with 10 side chapels, composed of altarpieces of gilded and polychrome carving (18th century) and stucco (19th century); the marble altarpiece of the main chapel dated from the second half of the 18th century, and that contrasts with the Manueline environment of the space; in the elevations of the chapel the great prominence goes to the two Renaissance windows in marbles - it was from here that the Royal Family attended the religious offices; also highlight the chain whose decoration is made with representations of various Franciscan saints; we cannot fail to mention also the majestic artistic ensemble Chapel of the Third Order of St. Francis of Penance, in this conjugal space-if the beauty of the golden carving joanina, with canvases and tiles where you can observe Franciscan themes; also what we can not fail to mention is the Chapel of the Lord of the Steps of the House of Bones dating from the nineteenth century (old Chapter Hall) - This is not only an odd space, but also a space that welcomes the image that represents the suffering of Christ on the way to Calvary and for whom the Ebonists have great devotion.
In addition, since 1536, Gil Vicente, the first great Portuguese playwright, has been buried in this church.
With the extinction of the Religious Orders (1834), the Convent enters a decline without return, having been demolished practically the whole building. The splendid Church of San Francisco was saved.
By passing through Évora, you cannot leave this Church untouched!