The Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications guard the border between Lisbon and Madrid. This city has the biggest group of dry-ditch land fortifications of anywhere in the world.
There are fortifications that go throughout the whole town, including thick walls and moats. There is a pleasant town plaza within its walls, along with some interesting museums. It is not a town that gets many tourists, but it has a unique atmosphere of being on the frontier inside of heavy fortifications.
Some of the remains in the city go all the way back to the 10th century, but the fortifications were not built until the 1600’s.
military fort in Elvas
The military fort in Elvas is just north of the town and gives visitors some great views of the surrounding landscape. This hill that the fort sits on has seen a lot of action in the past. The Spanish attacked this spot as they tried to push their way into Elvas in the 1600’s and 1700’s. After the second attack in the 1700’s, this fort was built to help the people make a better stand against any future attacks, which did come in the 1800’s.
The Fernandina Tower was built in the 14th century. This tower was used as a jail starting in the late 1400’s. Today, visitors can go up the three levels of spiral stairs for some great views at the top, though the stairs are very steep.
The aqueduct located in the city took around 100 years to completely finish in the year 1622. The Amoreira Aqueduct is 4.35 miles long and helped the city survive sieges by bringing water in from outside sources to the marble fountains.
Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Elvas
The Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Elvas is a great museum to visit. Different exhibitions are on display throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule. The museum has only been open since 2007 but is housed in an old building from the 1700’s that used to be a hospital. Many of the exhibitions are of modern artists, which usually change about every six months.
7 sites in this World Heritage
- Amoreira Aqueduct
- Historic Centre
- Fort of Santa Luzia and the covered way
- Fort of Garca
- Fortlet of Sao Mamede
- Fortlet of Sao Pedro
- Fortlet of Sao Domingos