SESSION 9 | MARCH 4 | 9:00-10:45

Chair Susana Gómez Martinez (UÉ | CAM-CEAACP)

From Mosque to Church of Santa Maria da Alcáçova of Elvas

9:00-9:30 | Fernando Branco Correia (UÉ-CIDEHUS)

Elvas - or Yalbaš - appears in the written sources in Arabic language already in the 10th century, and al-Idrīsī, in the 12th century, classifies it as madīna. Its position, west of Badajoz and the Guadiana River, made it a strategic point on the roads that led from Córdoba and Badajoz to Santarém and Évora - Lisbon. After its integration into the kingdom of Portugal, in the 13th century, many buildings from the previous era remained standing. The morphological characteristics of the Church of Santa Maria da Alcáçova and an unusual architectural element in an early 16th-century design have raised the hypothesis that this church took advantage of an Andalusian-era mosqueī. Some descriptions of the church and the orientation and spatiality of the building reinforce the hypothesis that some traces of this ancient mosque have survived to our days. Those traces, if not more ancient, may be contemporary with the major military works that Elvas received in the Almohad period. The data used in this communication coincides, to a large extent, with the research and identification attempt carried out in the 1990s, with a few more recent data.

Examples of reversibility and non-reversibility of Christian sacred spaces in the southeast of early al-Andalus

9:30-10:00 |  Daniel Montiel Valadez (U. Granada)  

In this paper we will present relevant examples of conversions of Christian sacred spaces (churches) into Muslim ones in the southeastern area of early al-Andalus (VIII-IX). Also, we will talk about the non-reversibility of these same spaces to offer a more complete vision of the phenomenon we are going to deal with, providing some important examples. That is to say, in contrast to the greater attention given to the conversion of mosques into churches after the advance of the Christian conquest of al-Andalus, we will talk about the first examples of reversibility (and non-reversibility) of the sacred spaces that the Muslims encountered upon their arrival in the southeast of the peninsula.

Motivations and expressions of power: the reversibility of the sacred in the cases of Palmela and Alcácer

10:00-10:30 |  Isabel Cristina Fernandes (GEsOS - Município de Palmela | UÉ-CIDEHUS | IEM NOVA)

While it is true that Palmela was within Lisbon’s sphere of influence, it is also true that the privileged geography of Alcácer meant that it was frequently targeted by both Muslims’ and Christians’ ambitions, who at various times and situations have been present in the area. In both cases, the interventions resulting from the installation of other powers were motivated by intentions of functional, spiritual and propagandistic nature. The archaeological record, although with gaps, associated with the data from written sources, allows some reflections and interpretations about the organization of these spaces by the new owners, framed by the dominant ideology.


Fernando Branco Correia BA degree in History (FLUL), MA degree in Medieval History (FCSH-UNL), training in the Arabic Language in Portugal and at the Bourguiba Institute (Tunisia), and a PhD, with a thesis entitled Fortificação, Guerra e Poderes no Garb al-Andalus – Dos Inícios da Islamização ao Domínio Norte-africano (UÉvora). Assistant professor at the History Department of the UÉvora, where he has taught History of the Islamic World, History of al-Andalus, Techniques du Monde Arabe-islamique (Master Erasmus Mundus TPTI) and Medieval History 1. He teaches, in other departments, Arabic Language 1 and 2, and Introduction to the Architecture of the Islamic World and Maghreb (edited by J. Rocha). Author of Elvas na Idade Média (ed. Colibri, 2014 – Pedro Cunha Serra Prize) e co-author of Do Estreito ao Ocidente do al-Andalus (Fund. El Legado Andalusí, 2010) and Portugal uma Retrospectiva – 929 (with Santiago Macias, ed. Público / Tinta-da-china, 2019; 2022). He has collaborated on translations - such as Contos do País dos Sufis (Assírio & Alvim) - and has published articles on Fez – Fès (Fondation Benjelloun Mezian – Ed. Almed, Granada, 2018) and Arabic-speaking cinema (CEAUP – UPorto, 2017). He has recently become one of the editors of Hamsa - Journal of Judaic and Islamic Studies (Cidehus-UÉvora).

Daniel Montiel Valadez. Bachelor in History from the University of Malaga; master in Teaching from the University of Seville; master in Historical Research (EURAME) from the University of Granada, with a thesis focused on the Christianization of Hispania in the Late Antique period (4th-8th centuries): churches, monasticism, villae, etc. PhD student at the Department of Medieval History of the University of Granada, with a thesis related to the study of the Vega of Granada during the Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages. Member of the research project "El área periurbana de una ciudad islámica: la Vega de Granada (XIV-XVI)", directed by the Carmen Trillo San José. Academic interests: Christianization of Late Antique Hispania; transition between Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages; Mozarabism; projection of history in cinema.

Isabel Cristina Ferreira Fernandes. Bachelor in History and master in Art, Heritage and Restoration from the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon. Scientific director of the Gabinete de Estudos sobre a Ordem de Santiago (GEsOS) in Palmela City Hall, where she promotes and coordinates scientific initiatives related to military orders and castellology. She has coordinated and developed archaeological research projects and studies of historical, archaeological, and artistic nature focused on the Roman, Islamic, and Christian medieval periods. She participates regularly in national and international scientific congresses, as a lecturer, and authored several articles on archaeology, the medieval period, military orders and military architecture. Member of two research groups in the field of the history of military orders at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Universidad de Castilla La Mancha. Member of the research group CIGA (Islamic Ceramics of the Garb al-Andalus). She is also an Affiliated researcher in CIDEHUS (Interdisciplinary Center of History, Cultures and Societies, University of Évora), IEM (Institute of Medieval Studies - Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, New University of Lisbon) and CEAACP (Center for Studies in Archaeology, Arts and Heritage Sciences, University of Coimbra). Member of the editorial team of the journal Medievalista (IEM-NOVA) and the Advisory Board of the journal Cuadernos de Arquitectura y Fortificacíon (Ediciones La Ergástula). Speaker of the General Assembly of the Iberian Association of Military History.