Aqueduto da Amoreira - Elvas, Portugal
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member manchanegra
N 38° 52.674 W 007° 10.392
29S E 658463 N 4304813
Quick Description: Aqueduto da Amoreira is an Aqueduct in Elvas, Portugal
Location: Portalegre, Portugal
Date Posted: 8/22/2011 3:38:05 PM
Waymark Code: WMCCP4
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member razalas
Views: 7

Long Description:
The Aqueduct connects the site of Amoreira to the city of Elvas. It has 843 arches over five arches and towers 31 feet high. It is considered the biggest aqueduct in the Iberian Peninsula with 8.5 km long.

Since the times of the Arab occupation the water supply of the town of Elvas came from the Well of Alcalá, near the old Episcopal Palace. However, from the fifteenth century, due to population growth, the well became insufficient to supply water to the city.

Early in the reign of King Manuel I, the king introduced a new tax, the "Real de Agua" (Agua=Water and Real was the currency at the time), to pay for the conservation works of the medieval well. These works didn´t solved the problems of water supply, so the local Town Council considered building an aqueduct to bring water from the site of Amoreira in the suburbs, to the city center.

In 1537 D. John III appointed the architect Francisco de Arruda, Master of Construction Works of Alentejo province and author of the Aqueduct of Evora, to run the project for the new Elvas aqueduct. The works began in the same year, continuing until 1542, when the length of the canal came to the Convent of San Francisco. Then followed the execution of the most complex part of the project, since after the initial six miles already built, the arches of the aqueduct would increase in size. The work became increasingly onerous, although the taxes charged to city residents for the building of the aqueduct were being raised over the years.

In 1547 the works were suspended due to lack of funds, and resumed only in 1571. This second season of works which have been directed by the engineer Afonso Alvares, continued until 1580, when the ascent to the throne of Philip II created a new interruption of work.

Work was resumed in the early seventeenth century, and around 1610 it was concluded that it was necessary to amend the draft of the aqueduct, giving you more height to make it possible to carry the water to the Largo da Misericordia. This decision further delayed the completion of the work, not only because of practical difficulties related to the engineering work but mostly due to the increased costs of the project.
Finally, in 1620 the first waters ran trough the aqueduct within the city walls, which would then culminate in a temporary source built near the ancient Church of the Magdalene.

In the year 1622 the Fountain of Misericordia (Mercy Founatin) was completed concluding the galleries of the aqueduct and becoming one of the central places of the city.

The aqueduct, which extends for a length of about eight kilometers, comprises a number of different galleries. The first area is underground. At ground level te aqueduct is formed by four overlapping arches, supported by square pillars and strengthened by semi-circular buttresses, giving it the a height of thirty-one meters.

During the War of Restoration the defense of Elvas (a border city of strategic importance), has become an imperative, and the location of the aqueduct became an obstacle to building a new set of fortifications. The military engineers even placed the hypothesis of put down the aqueduct, a possibility backed up by King D. John IV. The town of Elvas opposed to this measure, and the Earl of St. Lawrence, governor of Elvas, managed through a petition to the Crown that the king gave up the demolition.

To overcome the difficulties of water supply during the war the city built a cistern, built in the 50´s of the seventeenth century, "domed and bomb-proof" and linked to the Aqueduct through a underground pipe it was designed by the engineer Nicholas of Langres,

In the second half of the twentieth century some arches in the highest parts suffered from the ruins and were repaired using the available techniques at the date.

It is classified as a National Monument by IGESPAR since 1910.

From Wikipedia
Designação (Name): Aqueduto da Amoreira

Categoria de protecção (Classification): Classificado como MN - Monumento Nacional

Categoria/Tipologia (Type of heritage): Arquitectura Civil / Aqueduto

Concelho (City): Elvas

Página do Património na base de dados da DGPC (Page of the Heritage at the DGPC database): [Web Link]

Wikipedia: [Web Link]

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