5 Must Do Things in Elvas, Portugal
1. Aqueduto Da Amoreira.
The foremost must see site of Elvas is the Aqueduto Da Amoreira. Located approx 2kms from old town of Elvas, it is a sight to behold! Aqueducts were used to transport drinkable water to the walled city. The 8.3kms long aqueduct has 843 arcs and has a height of 31m. Records mention it being built during the years between 1490s to 1620s. The work halted several times in between due to lack of funds and foreign invasions. Aqueduct da Amoreira, is in the Alentejo, and is located in São Brãs e São Lourenço, region of Elvas, district of Portalegre.
2. Elvas Dominicas Church and Old Santa Clara Square
The chapel faces the Square.
This is a small chapel. The Church of Dominicas was originally Church of Consolation. Previously a monastery, it has its foundation on a older church of the Knights of Templar. What we get to see today is only that part of the monastery which was saved from demolition. The interiors have unique octagonal shape with lovely tile work in the interiors. These tiles are existing from 1669 and that makes them all the more precious. The columns, the arches of the altars and the architrave is decorated with paintings of reasons, a representation of the Mystic Lamb, a profusion of gilt and poly chrome.
Opening times are 10.00 to13.00 and 15.00 to18.30 (closed completely on Monday and the morning of Tuesday)
Another interesting place in Elvas is the old Santa Clara square. Centuries back the pillory was a symbol of independence of a community and also the place where justice used to be applied often in brutal ways. The iron bars are said to be the originals dating back to the 16th century! In many countries of Europe the pillories have been almost erased from the towns but in Portugal most towns still have them. From 15th century the use of the pillory for executions in Portugal was rare and was mainly a symbol of status.
3. The Castle of Elvas
The castle of Elvas is one of the National Monuments of Portugal. This monument is of importance as it was built on Roman remains. First captured from Arabs in 1166 by King D. Afonso Henriques, it was lost to Arabs a few years later. It was finally taken by King D. Sancho II in 1226. In 1226 after the Christians recaptured it from the Moors, the structure was rebuilt. In 14th century more modifications were carried out. The monument is worth a visit as it is an important part of the history of Elvas. July’s first weekend would be a great time to visit as the “Medieval fair” is on during that time. The public is allowed to visit the castle and the atmosphere of medieval times is recreated around the Castle.
4. Cathedral of Elvas
This imposing architectural monument cannot be missed. The sight of it from the plaza is outstanding! The simple plain exteriors enclose grand interiors. It can take half an hour to go around admiring the interiors. This religious monument was built in 1517 on the ruins of an old parish church of St. Maria. The construction was completed in 1537 and got elevated to status of Cathedral of Elvas in 1570.
Entry is Free.
Summer: 1000hrs to 1300hrs, 15.00 to 1800hrs.
Winter: 9.30hrs to 12.30hrs, 1400hrs to 1700hrs.
5. Main Square of Elvas
The main square in Elvas is a cool place to rest your heels after walking through the up and down sloping streets of the old town of Elvas. Ideal place to do people watching too. Food is available at very reasonable price here compared to the restaurants of Spain just 10kms away. The combo kind of dish that we ordered had a soft drink, soup, main dish, dessert and tea/coffee at the end. All for 10euros! We enjoyed our food here.