11km (7 miles) W of Badajoz, Spain; 223km (138 miles) E of Lisbon
The "city of plums," Elvas is characterized by narrow cobblestone streets (pedestrians have to duck into doorways to allow automobiles to inch by) and crenellated fortifications. The Moors held the town until 1226. Later Spanish troops frequently assaulted and besieged it. It finally fell in the 1801 War of the Oranges, which ended with a peace treaty signed at Badajoz. Elvas remained part of Portugal, but its neighbor, Olivença, became Spanish. The Elvas ramparts are an outstanding example of 17th-century fortifications, with gates, curtain walls, moats, bastions, and sloping banks around them.
Lining the steep, hilly streets are tightly packed gold- and oyster-colored cottages with tile roofs. Many of the house doors are just 1.5m (5 ft.) tall. In the tiny windows are numerous canary cages and flowering geraniums. The four-tier Aqueduto da Amoreira, built between 1498 and 1622, transports water into Elvas from about 8km (5 miles) southwest of the town.