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World Heritage

Eurocity Badajoz-Elvas

Intangible Cultural Her.

Events

Thu Jun 21, 2018 | horas: 08:00 - 11:00PM
XII Festival Medieval de Elvas
Thu Jun 21, 2018 | horas: 08:00 - 07:00PM
Exposição Santo António Padroeiro
Thu Jun 21, 2018 | horas: 08:00 - 05:00PM
Férias Ativas
Thu Jun 21, 2018 | horas: 10:00 - 06:00PM
"A sedução de uma vírgula bem colocada - The pull of a well placed comma"
Thu Jun 21, 2018 | horas: 21:00 - 11:00PM
Cinema em junho

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History

The early history and the roman civilization

The story of where they would raise the city of Elvas begins in the period known as the Iron Age. However, the history of this region has its beginning long time before that first arise fortress of the Iron Age. Given the fertility of the fields of this place, it was soon established the first people here and of course, have left their tracks in the magnificent megalithic heritage that sprinkles the homesteads of Elvas municipality. We must go back to the period of the Neo-Chalcolithic, roughly between 4000 a.C. and 1800 a.C. to start telling this story, although there are also many traces of Paleolithic such as the grave of Caldeiras. However, it is in the Neo-Chalcolithic period that there were the first architectural landmarks built by man: dolmens. Currently there are 22 in Elvas municipality. Today much of this huge collection of dolmens, cromlechs, necropolis and simple settlements can be visited through circuits that anyone can do if have a 4x4. While many of these monuments are on private property, there are others that are located along the rural roads, in pleasant places. At the same time observing the landscape you can enjoy a beautiful alentejano picnic. As said earlier, where Elvas is located, that steep hill to the south and west falls as amphitheatre, born from the Iron Age. The Iron Age is a historical period marked by the appearance of several innovations, including the appearance of iron artifacts and the potter's wheel. These new inventions not only brought the improvement of living conditions, but also brought the improvement of the conditions of war, making it possible to build better weapons. This has led to that little by little people would be obliged not only to live closer together, but also to live in easy defence sites. Therefore, the first habitats were born in the higher levels, as is the case of Elvas. These fortified settlements could constitute an autonomous political entity and its inhabitants lived on the basis of agro-pastoral economy, drawing some iron and tin mines in the region. The best example of these towns / forts is undoubtedly the Castro of Segóvia, between Elvas and Campo Maior, which were detected abundant contacts with Mediterranean populations such as ceramic Punic and Greek. By the first century a. C., the village remained essentially its features. The Romans arrived to the Iberian Peninsula in 218 a.C. When they arrive here, they find the Celtic village that we talked about earlier. In 155 a.C. was already conquered and although the Lusitanian War that followed (155-138 a. C.), the Roman victory seemed easy and little by little the territory was being colonized. With the new administrative divisions, the town, which would be Elvas, would be located in Lusitania, right in the border with Baetica. It’s not known the name of this Roman settlement. Although some historians point to the Roman toponym Alba, there is no evidence of such a situation. The Romans did not fail to enjoy the town as a small fortification. Here have erected a small castellum living in the sphere of Pax Augusta (Badajoz) and patrolling trade and passers-by from the Roman road that linked Emerita Augusta (Mérida) to Ebura (Évora) and Olisipo (Lisbon). The great Roman remains that today exist in the current Elvas county are still rural traces: their villae. In Elvas Municipality are identified 23 villae, 15 necropolis, two quarries and numerous habitats and other isolated findings. Followed by the Visigoth deployment that started from 470 but only become full from sixteenth mid-century and walk into a slow decline from 585 until the Islamic conquest. During these centuries there were few traces that come to us to have certainty about the Visigoth presence in Elvas. Two pillar of marble fragments were found, one in João de Olivença Street and another at the backyard of São Domingos Convent that seem to belong to the same building.

Islamic Elvas 

The Islamic population is here at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Elvas was then called Ialbax and still had an old Roman fort, but continued to be a strategic point. That’s why Ibn Marwan wanted to build here a city, next to the important medina Batalyaws (Badajoz). At the beginning of the tenth century the city of Elvas, or Ialbax, was already fortified. The first Islamic fortification had its beginnings around 913, a troubled period in which several cities were sent to fortify by the dynasty of Jillîqîs. In the eleventh century, Ialbax was already an important population near Batalyaws. Benefited not only with this proximity, but also to be located in a strategic position with a Roman road network linking others the villages such as al-Qasr (Alcácer do Sal), Chantirein (Santarém) and Ushbuna (Lisboa) to Batalyaws and a perfect location on top of a hill. For all these reasons the town was grown in size and in terms of population and in the following century was to build another wall which embraced all the houses that was already born out of the primitive wall. The new fence was built with different input doors. The second Islamic wall was changed several times during several centuries in relation to its entrances. However, Porta dos Banhos or Porta Ferrada, near to the present church of São Pedro, Porta do Bispo and the Porta de São Martinho are doors still built during the Islamic period. We must point out, in addition to the new walls mentioned above, its castle, the Arabic cistern and, at least, one mosque. This is the medina which was tried to be conquered by the Christian kings from the twelfth century. D. Afonso Henriques entered in Elvas but the city was conquered by the Moorish shortly thereafter. In 1226, with Sancho II, the siege and the murders were fruitless. It was in 1229 that his men can finally conquer the fortress, perhaps with less soldiers defending it.

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