Description of the Fort

The complex system of the Fort of Graça is divided into three parts: the central stronghold, the masterful compound and the exterior works:

Central Redoubt

The complex system of the Fort of Graça is divided into three parts: the central stronghold, the masterful compound and the exterior works. The central stronghold has an underground cistern that serves as a deposit for the harvesting of rainwater. The first floor has two corridors, which correspond to the ancient chapel, that meet at the center, where it is possible to observe a dome with four elliptic tribunes with a defensive function, besides their several compartments. On the second floor, we have a corridor that surrounds the dome, seen from the first floor, and a corridor where it is possible to have access to several compartments: ammunition depots and storage rooms. The third flood corresponds to a terrace with several defense mechanisms (parapets, chinks, machicolations and portholes) and from which it is possible to have access to the Governor’s House. This house has, on the ground floor, a circular room with paintings retelling the construction of the fort. On the first floor of the house, we have a central room, surrounded by several other rooms, with diverse decorations with stucco work. The second floor is composed by a housetop and it’s the highest point of the Fort of Graça. This stronghold is defended by three artillery pieces which are pointing to the secondary pit and the Masterful Compound.

Masterful Compound

Briefly, we can say that the Masterful Compound divides the exteriors constructions from the central stronghold. It is constituted by a bulwark system, connected by curtains of walls, shaped in a square form. This square has 145m of each side, with four angled bulwarks (Santo Amaro, Malefa, Badajoz and City), and separated by curtains of walls. To each curtain corresponds a ravelin which defends it. On the embankments of the bulwarks, the Masterful Compound has several houses that, during times of peace, were the officers’ houses and during wartimes, they were used as concealed portholes. Under the embankment, the compound has several compartments that served as ammunition depots, barracks and shooting galleries towards the moat. This moat is the main one which separates the Masterful Compound from the ravelins and the exterior works. It is connected to the Masterful Compound by several posterns with small drawbridges. The part of the moat that is facing the city once had a water mirror, which was later eliminated during the first half of the 19th century.

Exterior Works

The exterior works surround the entire complex, and are composed by four counterguards and four ravelins, to which is added a hornwork facing North, an advanced construction that defends the most fragile side of the fortification, that was designed with considerable thought regarding symmetry, just like the remaining compound. A covered path, with about 1700 meters of length, accompanies every exterior work. These are defended in several sectors by troux de loup, opened on the ground and concealed with tree branches so that the enemy would fall on them. Under the covered path, and accessible through the main moat, there is a shooting gallery facing the referred moat which also served as barracks and prison.


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