About Elvas

Elvas is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 1,376 km² and a population of 11,262 inhabitants. The municipality is located in the District of Portalegre. The present Mayor is António Baptista and the Vice-Mayor is Inês Maria Andrade. Elvas is situated in the Alto Alentejo province, close to the border with Spain. It is an important market town and one of the main ports of entry into Portugal from the south. The town is well known for its fine pottery and ceramic tiles. The region around Elvas has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The first human settlement dates back to the Neolithic period. The remains of a megalithic temple, known as the Cabeço das Videiras, can be found close to the town. The Romans occupied the area in the 2nd century BC. They built a fortification, known as the Castra Legio VII Gemina, to defend the eastern frontier of their empire. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths occupied the region. In 716 AD, the Moors invaded and conquered the town. They held it until 1226 when it was reconquered by the Portuguese king Afonso III. In 1570, Elvas was captured by the Spanish. It was retaken by the Portuguese in 1659. During the Peninsular War (1808-1814), Elvas was occupied by the French. It was besieged by the British in 1811. The French finally withdrew in 1814. Elvas was awarded the status of a city in 1858. The town suffered considerable damage during the First World War (1914-1918). It was occupied by the German army in April 1918. Elvas has a number of historical monuments and buildings. The most notable are the Aqueduto da Amoreira, the Elvas Castle, the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça, the Convent of São Benedito and the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção. The Aqueduto da Amoreira is an aqueduct built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. It is one of the best preserved Roman monuments in Portugal. The Elvas Castle is a medieval fortress built in the 13th century. It was the scene of a bloody battle during the Portuguese Civil War (1828-1834). The Convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça is a 16th century monastery. The Convent of São Benedito is a 17th century monastery. The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção is a church dating from the 18th century. Elvas has a warm Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The economy of Elvas is based on agriculture, livestock breeding, ceramics, cork and tourism. The municipality of Elvas includes the parish of São Miguel do Alto and the town of Elvas. The town of Elvas is situated on a hill overlooking the plains of the Alto Alentejo. It is surrounded by walls and has a number of gates, including the Portas de São Lourenço, the Portas de Santo Antão and the Portas de Elvas. The main square of Elvas is the Praça da República. It is dominated by the Town Hall, a 19th century building. Other notable buildings in Elvas include the Church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção, the Elvas Castle, the Aqueduto da Amoreira and the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça. Elvas has a number of museums, including the Archaeological Museum, the Elvas Castle Museum and the Ceramics Museum. The surrounding countryside of Elvas is dotted with megalithic monuments, castles and Roman ruins. Elvas is twinned with Badajoz in Spain and Olivenza in Portugal.