Elvas


Pick up at  your hotel in Lisbon at 09h00
From Lisbon to Elvas it will take about 3 hours


Located close to the border, Elvas fought to maintain the independence of Portugal and its history. By doing so, it became an example for all mankind.
Upon our arrival in the city, we are greeted by a magnificent Aqueduct extending a distance of 7 km and consisting of 843 arches, constructed by the same man who built the Tower of Belém, in Lisbon, architect Francisco de Arruda. It size and numbers are as impressive as what we will discover ahead of us. We have, in fact, just entered the largest bulwarked fortification in the world, with its defensive structures in the shape of a star that enclose a perimeter of nearly 10 km, which are a unique testimony to the development of military strategy up to the 19th century. The fortifications were very important in the battles with Spain for the independence of Portugal in the mid-17th century, and served as a base for General Wellington during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century




Today, the fortifications of Elvas are a World Heritage site. The military section that is preserved today is made up of the Islamic and Medieval walls and the ring of walls from the 17th century influenced by the Dutch style of Cosmander, plus the Forte de Santa Luzia (17th century), the Forte da Graça (18th century) and three small fortifications from the 19th century – São Mamede, São Pedro and São Domingos. If we were birds, we would see the surprising design of these structures on the ground, which we can only comprehend in aerial photographs of or guess at when we visit the monuments and view the surrounding landscape.

In the heart of Elvas, the area of the Castle is the oldest part of the city. From there to the Praça da República square, where the old Cathedral is located, today the Church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção, we pass by theDomínicas Church, with its original octagonal floor plan, past the Manueline pillory and the Torre Fernandina. Along these streets it is easy to identify the arches that served as the old entries through the walls.


Here are some of the several  places you can visit in Elvas 



Aqueduct with overlapping arches

The colossal aqueduct Amoreira is located in the town of Elvas not far from the city center of the Portuguese fortified city, one of the most interesting seen in our journey through the Alentejo and the Algarve. The aqueduct is a very particular structure and is composed of overlapping arches to one another up to a height enough relevant. Dating from the late fifteenth century, was finished in the seventeenth when he entered fully into operation. Well-preserved is one of the most special attractions of this town.




Forte de Santa Luzia 


It is outside the village and closer than the other fort in Elvas, you can drive up to the entrance. Also it's better preserved than the fort of Gracia, and we expected to see inside but it was closed. So I did took a walk around the spectacular walls.








Forte da Graça 

Although it's in ruins, it's somewhere that I recommend if you visit Elvas. Situated on a hill, a little way out of town, with spectacular views across the valley. Admission is free and you can get there by car.





Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição
The Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição was built over the “Porta da Esquina” in the the sixteenth century. However the temple suffered several modifications during the following century, visible through the interior walls covered with ceramic titles from the eighteenth century. The titles reveal different designs of Dutch influence from 1780.












San Lourenzo Fountain

San Lorenzo fountain  was ordered to  be  built to the French military engineer Valleré in the second half of the 18th century  by Judge Bernardo Xavier Barbosa Sachetti. Valleré was  at the time  working in the works of the Fort of Our Lady of Grace.  On the site of this fountain  where  was already another fountain also named  of St. Lawrence which dated from the  seventeenth century (1626) and that was displaced to Quinta de Sto. António around the city.




The Church of Domínicas

It was an ancient feminine Convent of the Dominican Order established in 1528. The construction of Church we can observe nowadays started in 1543 and it was concluded in 1557 in the exact place where used to be the Church of Madalena. It is a building with a rare octagonal plan with a Renaissance portico and an interior totally covered by ceramic titles. The gilded wood of the altars is from the late seventeenth century. The extinction of the religious orders in 1834 led to the abandonment of the convent however it would continue active until 1870 when its last occupant, Sister Ana Inácia de Gusmão, died. The beginning of the twentieth century is dedicated to the demolition of the convent, except the Church. Here it was build a cine-theatre, some private houses and a primary school.

Return to Lisbon the day after at about 4 or 5 pm

Price: 300 eur  per person / minimum 2 persons 

Includes:

1 night in a 3 star hotel BB 
Wine tasting 
Transport in AC car from Lisbon and back