Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort near Elvas, Portugal
© Luis Pina Photography/Shutterstoc
Info. Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort near Elvas, Portugal
Standing on a hill in eastern Portugal, the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort has been called a masterpiece of 18th-century military architecture. The thick wall that surrounds the fortress is shaped in a star pattern, with pentagonal bastions extending out from the curtain wall at the corners. We're looking at one of those bastions in the centre of our image.
Close to the Spanish border, the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort was built to defend the nearby town of Elvas. Spanish troops occupied the site during the Portuguese Restoration War (1640-1668), but after the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort was built a century later, the town was never defeated. With its 144 cannons, the fort resisted an attack by more Spanish forces during the 1801 War of the Oranges and forced back an invading French army during the Peninsular War in 1811.
Eventually the fort became a political prison, which it remained until 1974, when it was abandoned and fell into ruin. But it was restored after 2012, when UNESCO recognised the whole historical centre of Elvas – including the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort, a few other nearby forts, and the 16th-century Amoreira Aqueduct – as a World Heritage site.