Elvas City Guide
Elvas, known as the “city of plums,” is a historic town in Portugal that is characterized by its narrow, cobblestone streets and crenellated fortifications. The town was held by the Moors until 1226, and it was frequently attacked and besieged by Spanish troops in later years. In the 1801 War of the Oranges, Elvas finally fell but remained part of Portugal, while its neighboring town, Olivença, became Spanish.
The fortifications of Elvas are an exceptional example of 17th-century military architecture. They include gates, curtain walls, moats, bastions, and sloping banks. The town is also known for its tightly packed, gold- and oyster-colored cottages with tile roofs that line the steep, hilly streets. Many of the houses have doors that are just 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall, and the tiny windows are filled with canary cages and flowering geraniums.
One of the most impressive landmarks in Elvas is the four-tier Aqueduto da Amoreira. Built between 1498 and 1622, the aqueduct transports water from a source located about 8 kilometers (5 miles) southwest of the town. Visitors can admire the aqueduct’s arches and impressive engineering as it stretches across the landscape. In some places, it towers up to 30 meters (98 feet) high. Overall, Elvas is a charming and historic town that offers visitors a glimpse into Portugal’s rich cultural heritage.