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"Evora" redirects here. For other uses of Évora and Evora, see Évora (disambiguation).
From top to right: Igreja da Graça, Cathedral of Évora, Roman Temple of Évora, University of Évora
Flag of Évora
Coat of arms of Évora
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 38°34′N 07°54′W / 38.567°N 7.900°W / 38.567; -7.900Coordinates: 38°34′N 07°54′W / 38.567°N 7.900°W / 38.567; -7.900
Country  Portugal
Region Alentejo
Subregion Alentejo Central
Intermunic. comm. Alentejo Central
District Évora
Parishes 12
 • President Carlos Pinto de Sá (CDU)
 • Total 1,307.08 km2 (504.67 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 56,596
 • Density 43/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zone WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)
Website www.cm-evora.pt

Évora (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɛvuɾɐ]) is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 56,596,[1] in an area of 1307.08 km².[2] It is the seat of the Évora District and capital of the Alentejo region. The present Mayor is Carlos Pinto de Sá of the CDU coalition. The municipal holiday is 29 June.

Due to its well-preserved old town centre, still partially enclosed by medieval walls, and a large number of monuments dating from various historical periods, including a Roman Temple, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.[3]

Évora is ranked number two in the Portuguese most livable cities survey of living conditions published yearly by Expresso.[4] It was ranked first in a study concerning competitiveness of the 18 Portuguese district capitals, according to a 2006 study made by Minho University economic researchers.[5]


The Foral of Évora of 1501, when the city was favoured by Manuel I of Portugal.
A depiction of Évora in 1503, when the city was blooming with Manueline riches.

Early History[edit]

Évora has a history dating back more than two millennia.

It was known as Ebora by the Celts, a tribal confederacy, south of the Lusitanians (and of Tagus river), who made the town their regional capital.

The etymological origin of the name Ebora is from the ancient Celtic word ebora/ebura, plural genitive of the word eburos (yew), name of a species of tree, so its name means "of yew tree." The city of York, in northern England, at the time of the Roman Empire, was called Eboracum/Eburacum, named after the ancient Celtic place name Ebora Kon (Place of Yew Trees), so the old name of York is etymologically related to the city of Évora.[6] Other two hypothesis of the origin of the name Évora is that the Romans had extensive gold mining in Portugal, and the name may be derived from that oro, aurum, (gold) [7] and also may be named after ivory workers, but these two hypothesis are much less likely than the first one, because the name Évora has no relation with gold or with ivory in ancient Celtic, Latin or Portuguese languages or other languages, there is no etymological ground for these two hypotheses. It may have been capital of the kingdom of Astolpas.[8]

Roman Rule[edit]

The Romans conquered the town in 57 BC and expanded it into a walled town. Vestiges from this period (city walls and ruins of Roman baths) still remain. Julius Caesar called it Liberalitas Julia (Julian generosity). The city grew in importance because it lay at the junction of several important routes. During his travels through Gaul and Lusitania, Pliny the Elder also visited this town and mentioned it in his book Naturalis Historia as Ebora Cerealis, because of its many surrounding wheat fields. In those days, Évora became a flourishing city. Its high rank among municipalities in Roman Hispania is clearly shown by many inscriptions and coins. The monumental Corinthian temple in the centre of the town dates from the first century and was probably erected in honour of emperor Augustus. In the fourth century, the town had already a bishop, named Quintianus.

During the barbarian invasions, Évora came under the rule of the Visigothic king Leovirgild in 584. The town was later raised to the status of a cathedral city. Nevertheless, this was a time of decline and very few artifacts from this period remain.

Moorish Rule[edit]

In 715, the city was conquered by the Moors under Tariq ibn-Ziyad who called it Yaburah يابرة. During the Moorish rule (715–1165), the town, part of the Taifa of Badajoz, slowly began to prosper again and developed into an agricultural center with a fortress and a mosque. The present character of the city is evidence of the Moorish influence. During that time, several notables hailed from Evora, including Abd al-Majid ibn Abdun Al-Yaburi عبد المجيد بن عبدون اليابري, a poet whose diwan still survives to this day.[9]


Évora was wrested from the Moors through a surprise attack by Gerald the Fearless (Geraldo Sem Pavor) in September 1165. The town came under the rule of the Portuguese king Afonso I in 1166. It then flourished as one of the most dynamic cities in the Kingdom of Portugal during the Middle Ages, especially in the 15th century. The court of the first and second dynasties resided here for long periods, constructing palaces, monuments and religious buildings. Évora became the scene for many royal weddings and a site where many important decisions were made.

Manueline Favour[edit]

In the 19th-century, Évora declined in national power, as a result of the War of Two Brothers.

Particularly thriving during the Avis Dynasty (1385–1580), especially under the reign of Manuel I and John III, Évora became a major centre for the humanities (André de Resende - buried in the cathedral) and artists, such as the sculptor Nicolau Chanterene; the painters Cristóvão de Figueiredo and Gregório Lopes; the composers Manuel Cardoso and Duarte Lobo; the chronicler Duarte Galvão; and the father of Portuguese drama, Gil Vicente.

Évora also held a large part of the slave population of Portugal. Nicolas Clenard, a Flemish tutor at the Portuguese court, exclaimed in 1535 that "In Evora, it was as if i had been carried off to a city in hell:everywhere I only meet blacks." A testament from 23 October 1562 shows that D. Maria de Vilhena, a Portuguese noblewoman, was a major slave owner, possessing the most slaves in Évora, with her testament recording fifteen slaves.[10] D. Maria's owning a Chinese, 3 Indians, and 3 Mouriscos among her fifteen slaves reflected on her high social status, since Chinese, Mouriscos, and Indians were among the ethnicities of prized slaves and were very expensive compared to blacks, and it was because her husband Simão was involved in the slave trade in the east that she owned slaves of many different ethnicities.[11] She freed twelve of her slaves in her 23 October 1562 testament who were recorded as: a Chinese man named António, three Indian women named Maria Fialha, Genebra, and Catarina, a white woman named Mécia de Abreu, a mulato man named Miguel, a parda woman named Guiomar, a black woman named Margarida, a mourisco woman named Isabel, a mourisco man named Salvador, and the testament does not mention the ethnicities of the men Diogo and Heitor. Her sister D. Leonor was given two of the remaining slaves, Maria and Luís, while the Priests of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Nossa Senhora do Carmo) were given the slave André.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24] She left the freed slaves sums from 20,000 to 10,000 réis in money.[25] D. Maria owned one of the only two Chinese slaves in Evora, and specifically selected and used him from among the slaves she owned to perform demanding tasks for her because he was Chinese.[26] D. Maria de Vilhena was the daughter of the nobleman and explorer Sancho de Tovar, the capitão of Sofala, and she was married twice, the first marriage to the explorer Cristóvão de Mendonça, and her second marriage was to Simão da Silveira, capitão of Diu.[27][28][29]

The city 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. In the 18th century, the Jesuits, who had spread intellectual and religious enlightenment since the 16th century, were expelled from Portugal, the university was closed in 1759 by the Marquis of Pombal, and Évora went into decline. The university was only reopened in 1973.

Recent History[edit]

View of a street in Évora.

The Battle of Évora was fought on 29 July 1808 during the Peninsular War. An outnumbered Portuguese force tried to stop a French-Spanish division commanded by Louis Henri Loison but it was routed. Led by the hated Loison, known as Maneta or One-Hand, the French went on to storm the town which was defended by soldiers, militiamen and armed townsmen. Breaking into the town, the attackers slaughtered combatants and non-combatants alike before thoroughly pillaging the place.

In 1834, Évora was the site of the surrender of the forces of King Miguel I, which marked the end of the Liberal Wars. The many monuments erected by major artists of each period now testify to Évora's lively cultural and rich artistic and historical heritage. The variety of architectural styles (Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance, Baroque), the palaces and the picturesque labyrinth of squares and narrow streets of the city centre are all part of the rich heritage of this museum-city.


Physical geography[edit]

Évora (altitude 300 m) is situated in Alentejo, a large region of wide plains on the south of Portugal, bordered on the North by the Tagus River and on the South by the region of Algarve. The city is 140 km (87 mi) from the capital city Lisbon, and 80 km (50 mi) from Badajoz at the Spanish border. It is the chief city of the region. The seat of the municipality is the city of Évora, composed by the civil parishes of Évora (São Mamede, Sé, São Pedro e Santo Antão) in the historical centre and the urban parishes of Bacelo e Senhora da Saúde and Malagueira e Horta das Figueiras outside the ancient city walls where most of the population in fact reside. The remaining civil parishes in the municipality are rural or suburban and do not form part of the city for statistic purposes. The city's historical centre has about 4,000 buildings and an area of 1.05 km2 (0.41 sq mi).


Évora has a hot-summer mediterranean climate.[30] As typical of the interior Alentejo, Évora is prone to severe heat extremes with an all-time record of 46 °C (115 °F).[31] However, the average summer high usually is around 31 °C (88 °F), which is significantly less severe heat than being found in nearby Andalusia, Spain. This is due to low-scale maritime effects due to the relative proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, which also causes seasonal lag predominantly during the warmer period, with night-time temperatures being milder in September than June as well as in October compared with May. Frosts in winter are extremely rare and never severe, with day-time temperatures most often staying below 15 °C (59 °F).

Climate data for Évora
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 26.7
Average high °C (°F) 13.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.6
Average low °C (°F) 5.8
Record low °C (°F) −2.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 60.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 148 148 203 220 285 301 363 346 251 204 158 144 2,771
Source #1: Instituto de Meteorologia[32]
Source #2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[33]

Human geography[edit]

Évora is a pleasant medium-sized city and has numerous monuments. Due to its long history, monuments and buildings are its main attraction to outsiders. However, there are numerous "Festas Populares" celebrating saints, holidays, "Feiras" (fairs) and cultural events (such as televised musical presentations) sponsored by the municipality and other organizations[34]

The municipality consists of the following 12 civil parishes:[35]

International relations[edit]

Évora is twinned with:

Évora is also part of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.


Évora is the chief city of the Alentejo region, and plays a role as an important agricultural and services center. It is home to several institutions with great importance for the region, like the state-run University of Évora and district hospital. Évora has tried to develop the aerospace sector, and has been has been chosen to host the Portuguese Aeronautical Cluster after Brazilian aircraft manufacturer giant Embraer decided to establish in the city two factories (one of metallic structures and other of composite structures) for the production of aircraft parts along with its European Engineering Center.[36] The city's aeronautical park, which includes an aerodrome, is about to receive a number of other investments related to the aeronautical industry, amongst which the most noteworthy investments are the ones of Lauak[37] and Mecachrome.[38]

Évora, as well as the surrounding area, has many hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and various styles of accommodation.


Évora can be reached by bus or train, with the construction of a high speed train link to Lisbon and Madrid is planned.

There is a small airfield, the Évora Municipal Airport, currently without commercial airline service. The closest major airports are: Beja, Lisbon, Faro and Badajoz.


UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historic Centre of Évora
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Evora-RomanTemple edit.jpg
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 361
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1986 (10th Session)
Giraldo Square in Évora.



Sé – cathedral of Évora

The city of Évora is marked by the historic square in the Praça do Geraldo, where King Duarte constructed the Estaus Palace. The square is marked by the Henriquina fountain, dating to 1570, that includes eight jets symbolizing the eight streets that lead to the square. At the northern end of the square is the Church of Saint Andrew (Portuguese: Igreja de Santo Antão) built by Manuel Pires, in the 16th century. A rather large church three-nave church, includes a valuable altar antependium from the 13th century in bas relief. In 1483, Fernando II, the Duke of Braganza was executed in the square, in the presence of his brother-in-law king John II. This square also witnessed thousands of autos-da-fé during the Inquisition; there were 22000 condemnations, during the course of 200 years.[39]

  • Fountain of Portas de Moura (Portuguese: Chafariz das Portas de Moura/Fonte da Porta de Moura), the Renaissance fountain (located in the Largo das Portas de Moura) was built in 1556, and an original design that includes globe surrounded by water (referencing the Age of Discovery).
  • Holy Spirit College of the Order of Christ (Portuguese: Colégio do Espírito Santo/Colégio da Companhia de Jesus/Universidade de Évora), today a nucleus of the University of Évora, the former Jesuit college was ordered constructed by Cardinal-King Henrique in 1559, and includes 16th century Mannerist elements, in addition to academic buildings constructed between the 17th-18th century (including cloister).
  • Royal Palace of Évora: Remnants of a palace built by King Manuel I in Gothic-Renaissance style. According to some chroniclers, it was in this palace, in 1497, that Vasco da Gama was given the command of the squadron he would lead on his maritime journey to India.
  • Palace of the Counts of Basto (Portuguese: Palácio dos Condes de Basto / Paço de São Miguel da Freiria / Palácio do Pátio de São Miguel), a primitive Moorish castle and later residence of the Afonsine dynastic kings. Its outer architecture displays features of Gothic, Manueline, Mudéjar and Renaissance styles.
  • Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval (Portuguese: Paço dos Duques de Cadaval/Palácio dos Duques de Cadaval), a 17th-century palace, built from the remains of an old castle (burnt down in 1384), and later serving as Governors and Royal residances. The palace includes Manueline-Moorish architectural elements (including the Tower of the Five Shields), and whose first-floor houses a collection of manuscripts, family portraits and religious art from the 16th century.
  • Prata Aqueduct (Portuguese: Aqueduto da Prata/Cano da Água da Prata), designed by military architect Francisco de Arruda (who previously designed the Belém Tower, it was built during the reign of by King João III between 1531 and 1537, the huge arches which stretched 9 kilometres (6 miles) to supply water from the interior to Évora. Originally, the aqueduct ended in the Praça do Giraldo, and bisected the city, resulting in the construction of houses, shops and cafés built between the arches (such as in the areas of Rua da Cano, Travessa das Nunes and Rua do Salvador street). A segment of the Roman wall and foundations of period buildings are preserved along Travessa Alcárcova de Cima, a narrow lane in the historic center. This structure was mentioned in the epic poem Os Lusíadas by Luís de Camões.
  • Roman Temple of Évora (Portuguese: Templo romano de Évora), improperly referred to as the Temple of Diana, was a 1st-century (in some references 2nd or 3rd century) temple, dedicated to the cult of Emperor Augustus, that was incorporated into mediaeval building and, thus, survived destruction. Évora's most famous landmark, it is constructed of 7.68 m (25.20 ft) Corinthian columns and fourteen granite columns, and whose base, capitals and the architraves of marble excavated from Estremoz.


  • Cathedral of Évora (Portuguese: Catedral de Évora): Mainly built between 1280 and 1340, it is one of the most important gothic monuments of Portugal. The cathedral has a notable main portal with statues of the Apostles (around 1335) and a beautiful nave and cloister. One transept chapel is Manueline and the outstanding main chapel is Baroque. The pipeorgan and choir stalls are renaissance (around 1566).
  • Chapel of São Brás (Portuguese: Capela de São Brás) Built around 1480, it is a good example of Mudéjar-Gothic with cylindrical buttresses. Only open for prayer.
  • Saint Francis Church (Igreja de São Francisco): Built between the end of the 15th and the early 16th centuries in mixed Gothic-Manueline styles. The wide nave is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. Contains many chapels decorated in Baroque style, including the Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos), totally covered with human bones.
  • Lóios Convent and Church: Built in the 15th century, contains a number of tombs; the church and the cloister are Gothic in style, with a Manueline chapterhouse with a magnificent portal. The church interior is covered in azulejos (ceramic tiles) from the 18th century. In 1965 it has been converted into a top-end pousada

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Direção-Geral do Território
  3. ^ MAETN (1999). "diktyo". classic-web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 22 October 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Classificação Expresso das melhores cidades portuguesas para viver em 2007, Expresso
  5. ^ "Edição Impressa". Jornal.publico.clix.pt. Retrieved 2009-05-06. [dead link]
  6. ^ "York's ancient origins". Yorkshire-england.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  7. ^ "The Mineral Industry of Portugal in 2002" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  8. ^ "Évora". Fikeonline.net. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Jorge Fonseca (1997). Os escravos em Évora no século XVI (in Portuguese). Volume 2 of Colecção "Novos estudos eborenses". Câmara Municipal de Évora. p. 18. ISBN 9729696535. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  11. ^ Jorge Fonseca (1997). Os escravos em Évora no século XVI (in Portuguese). Volume 2 of Colecção "Novos estudos eborenses". Câmara Municipal de Évora. p. 21. ISBN 9729696535. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  12. ^ Jorge Fonseca (1997). Os escravos em Évora no século XVI (in Portuguese). Volume 2 of Colecção "Novos estudos eborenses". Câmara Municipal de Évora. p. 21. ISBN 9729696535. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  13. ^ Alberto Da Costa E Silva (2002). A Manilha e o Libambo (in Portuguese). Editora Nova Fronteira. p. 849. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  14. ^ Hugh Thomas (2013). The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870 (illustrated ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 119. ISBN 1476737452. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  15. ^ Maria do Rosário Pimentel (1995). Viagem ao fundo das consciências: a escravatura na época moderna (in Portuguese). Volume 3 of Colibri história. Edições Colibri. p. 49. ISBN 9728047754. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  16. ^ Viagem ao fundo das consciências: a escravatura na época moderna (in Portuguese). Sociedade Histórica da Independência de Portugal (Lisbon, Portugal). Palácio da Independencia. 1966. p. 19. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  17. ^ Fortunato de Almeida (1925). História de Portugal, Volume 3 (in Portuguese). F. de Almeida. p. 222. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  18. ^ Comissão Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Lisbon, Portugal) (1999). Ana Maria Rodrigues, ed. Os Negros em Portugal: sécs. XV a XIX : Mosteiro dos Jerónimos 23 de Setembro de 1999 a 24 de Janeiro de 2000 (in Portuguese) (illustrated ed.). Comissão Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses. p. 77. ISBN 9728325991. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  19. ^ Jorge Fonseca (1997). Os escravos em Évora no século XVI (in Portuguese). Volume 2 of Colecção "Novos estudos eborenses". Câmara Municipal de Évora. p. 30. ISBN 9729696535. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  20. ^ Jorge Fonseca (1997). Os escravos em Évora no século XVI (in Portuguese). Volume 2 of Colecção "Novos estudos eborenses". Câmara Municipal de Évora. p. 31. ISBN 9729696535. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  21. ^ Gabriel Pereira (1886). Estudos eborenses : historia, arte, archeologia (O Archivo Da Santa Casa de Misericordia d'Evora 2.a Parte)(O testamento de uma grande dama do seculo 16) (in Portuguese). Evora : Minerva Eborense. p. 5 (575). Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  22. ^ O Testamento de uma Grande Dama do Século XVI (PDF) (in Portuguese). p. 27. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  23. ^ Jack D. Forbes (1993). Title Africans and Native Americans: The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples (reprint ed.). University of Illinois Press. p. 40. ISBN 025206321X. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  24. ^ A. C. de C. M. Saunders (1982). A Social History of Black Slaves and Freedmen in Portugal, 1441-1555 (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 214. ISBN 0521231507. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  25. ^ Comissão Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Lisbon, Portugal) (1999). Ana Maria Rodrigues, ed. Os Negros em Portugal: sécs. XV a XIX : Mosteiro dos Jerónimos 23 de Setembro de 1999 a 24 de Janeiro de 2000 (in Portuguese) (illustrated ed.). Comissão Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses. p. 77. ISBN 9728325991. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  26. ^ Jorge Fonseca (1997). Os escravos em Évora no século XVI (in Portuguese). Volume 2 of Colecção "Novos estudos eborenses". Câmara Municipal de Évora. p. 21. ISBN 972-96965-3-5. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  27. ^ Cristovão Alão de Morais; Eugénio de Andrea da Cunha e Freitas (1699). Alexandre António Pereira de Miranda Vasconcellos; António Cruz, eds. Pedatura lusitana (nobiliário de famílias de Portugal) ... (in Portuguese). Volume 2. Livraria Fernando Machado. p. 276. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  28. ^ Cristovão Alão de Morais; Eugénio de Andrea da Cunha e Freitas (1673). Alexandre António Pereira de Miranda Vasconcellos; António Cruz, eds. Pedatura lusitana (nobiliário de famílias de Portugal) ... (in Portuguese). Volume 4. Livraria Fernando Machado. p. 463. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  29. ^ Sociedade Histórica da Independência de Portugal (Lisbon, Portugal) (2000). João Paulo Oliveira e Costa, ed. Descobridores do Brasil: exploradores do Atlântico e construtores do Estado da Índia (in Portuguese). Volume 8 of Memória lusíada. Sociedade Histórica da Independência de Portugal. p. 77. ISBN 9729326312. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  30. ^ "Evora, Portugal Climate Summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "Climate normals 1981-2010 - Évora". Portuguese Institute of Meteorology. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Climate Normals - Évora 1981-2010". Portuguese Institute of Meteorology. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "Evora Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  34. ^ Região de Turismo de Évora in Portuguese.
  35. ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, page 552 46" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  36. ^ "Fábricas da Embraer em Évora vão aumentar número de trabalhadores em 30%". Económico (in Portuguese). 16 February 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  37. ^ "Franceses projetam nova fábrica de aeronáutica em Évora". dinheirovivo.pt (in Portuguese). 15 November 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  38. ^ "Empresa francesa projecta nova fábrica de componentes para aeronáutica em Évora". Económico (in Portuguese). 15 November 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  39. ^ Guia de Portugal. Estremadura, Alentejo, Algarve. Ed. F. C. Gulbenkian, 1991. p. 54.

External links[edit]