Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications
The Fortified City of Elvas traces its roots to the Arab period. It is one of the cities that were upgraded during Christian up until the 16th century. From the medieval military architectural period, the only monument that remains is the castle and 2 walls popularly known as ‘Muslim Walls’.
From the 17th century a third medieval wall was installed as a result of the War of Restoration from 1641 to 1668. The wall was known as Fernandina. The evidence of the walls is gotten from the beautiful drawings of by Duarte de Armacas (circa 1509).
Development of artillery and battle experience demanded new approach to the construction of fortifications surrounding the city. The city builders would build forts, fortlets and towers that forced the sieging armies to disperse from heavy artillery from the city towers.
Still visible is entrenchment field that was constructed from the 17th century. Other attractions include the Lines of Elvas since the aforementioned battle. The system was further fortified with fortifications from the historic center and includes the Fort of Santa Luzia, the Fort of Graca, and 3 fortlets.
The main attractions that bring tourists to the city include:
- Fort Graca
- Fortlet of SaoMamede
- Fortlet of Sao Pedro
- Fortlet of Sao Domingoes
Apart from the fortified system, you will also get a chance to visit the monuments in the historic buildings. The ensemble here is mainly from the military functions and attests to the uniqueness of this city. The urban fabric comprises an enormous garrison that defended the main natural entry point into the Portuguese territory.
The Fortified City of Elvas gives you a chance to view the ancient lifestyle of the Portuguese military. It presents an opportunity to delve into Portuguese culture and architecture. It is the kind of tour you take to learn a few things about your destination country. Try to get as much as possible from the tour guide…it may be your best shot at learning something that is not found in written literature.