Forte de Graça
#graça #urbex #photography #portugal #ruins #abandoned
Fort of our Lady of Grace or Fort Count de Lippe is situated near Elvas(Portugal).
In 1658 and then during the Seven Years’ War in 1762 the hill was used as artillery position, Dom José I of Portugal ordered the construction of a fort in 1763. The construction was supervised by Marshall Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe (hence the name of the fort).
Currently (end of 2013) the Fort is waiting for a restoration ordered by the municipality of Elvas.
-Notes and dangers
The place is a military zone, some old and rusty (partially collapsed) signs mark it as a military keep out area. However the road brings right in front of the (open) gate and the space and buildings are frequently visited by the locals and by some tourists too.
It seems that someone (probably the military before leaving the fort) have done a good precautionary job, sewage and water drains are uncovered and clean so please keep an eye open if you take a walk, especially in the 10m wide dry moat between the first and second wall. Good thing is that probably you will not find rats or sewer stench, inside or outside the buildings.
Some of the inner floors are wooden and in bad condition, at least one of the lower rooms and various others in the upper section, be cautious if crossing is unavoidable and keep yourself near the walls and directly over the beams (not with both feet on the same).
As always, take a look at the ceiling in new areas for possible rubble or other objects that could fall.
-Visit (All related ARTWORK posts HERE.)
We arrived late in the afternoon, with a good weather and very good lighting and clouds.
Going up the hill the view over Elvas and the countryside around is very nice, is possible to see the first sign of some fort structures at the top, even at the entrance the conditions are good and there are few to no signs of vandalism.
While crossing the external walls and the moat is possible to admire the peculiar structure and the Dragon Gate that leads inside the fort. Everything is massive and solid, made to withstand artillery fire.
The attention is quickly caught by the yellow building, high over the structure, the governor’s palace. Where the rest of the building has acute angles and inclined walls for more easily ricocheting projectiles and cannon balls, the governor’s palace is more decorated and pleasant to the view.
A stair cross the darkness of the second wall and lead to the inner part of the fort and the empty chapel. Many of the rooms inside the second wall and the central fort are vaulted and the light depicts nice shapes entering through windows and slits.
We go up through the symmetrical rooms and from there a beautiful landscape is presented to the view, spacing all around, over the fort walls and detached structures and the countryside beyond.
The yellow “palace” itself is photogenic and inside is possible to find some decorations and wall paintings in various states of preservation.
Other notable areas are the inner courtyard and the terrain just above the second walls, with some empty buildings and nice views of the garitte in-between walls.
The external dry moat is huge and deserves a walk around it, on both sides is possible to enter passageways sunk in darkness that proceed for meters and meters and in some case permit to cross the huge walls.
During the walk we found a room inside the external wall with signs of a campfire and probably some sheperd activity, on the open I’ve found part of some sort of mummified animal carcass and vertebrae.
While the sun is going down and disappearing the light gets more interesting, drawing strong and definite shapes through the architecture.
In one of the external corner rooms there’s a small tunnel descending at more than 45 degrees in complete obscurity, a huge amount of flies was near, but I couldn’t find the reason for the feasting.
Time has come to find a place where to sleep, so we head back, leaving the beautiful structure behind or shoulders, passing near a group of young people taking pictures and some cars not-so-well hidden in the bushes…
Bored of the small thumbnails?: All related ARTWORK
-I will upload new works about the fort in the next weeks, you can come back, or even better:
This is a great site for urbex info: Urban Exploration in the World, has a lot of Portugal locations!