Elvas, Portugal

General Information

Regional secretariat

Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications

Registration Year


Historical function


Location and site

Registration Criteria

Criterion (iv) : Elvas is an outstanding example of a garrison town and its dry-ditched bulwarked defence system, which developed in response to disruptions in the balance of power within 17th century Europe. Elvas can thus be seen as representing the universal aspirations of European nation States in the 16th-17th centuries for autonomy and land.

Historical Reference

The site, extensively fortified from the 17th to 19th centuries, represents the largest bulwarked dry-ditch system in the world. Within its walls, the town contains barracks and other military buildings as well as churches and monasteries. While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century ad, its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640. The fortifications designed by Dutch Jesuit padre Cosmander represent the best surviving example of the Dutch school of fortifications anywhere. The site also contains the Amoreira aqueduct, built to enable the stronghold to withstand lengthy sieges.


Dr. Nuno Miguel Fernandes Mocinha

Municipality of Elvas

Rua Isabel Maria Picão Apartado 70
Elvas, Portugal


Ms. Vitória Branco

Municipality of Elvas

Rua Isabel Maria Picão
Elvas, Portugal


Ms. Isabel Pinto

Heritage Technician
Municipality of Elvas

Rua Isabel M.ª Picão, s/n
Elvas, Portugal

00351-268 639 740