The Aqueduct da Prata of Évora inaugurated on March 28, 1537, is one of the most remarkable works, done in the city in the first half of the sixteenth century. It was built in scarcely six years by the royal architect Francisco de Arruda, and stretches for about 18 km, from Herdade do Divor, where the sources are.
Most likely superimposed on the former Roman aqueduct, the civil character of the building was ennobled by some sections of undeniable artistic and urban impact. For instance, until 1873, in the vicinity of the church of San Francisco stood the Royal Aqueduct Terminal, a renaissance portico comprising an “octagonal turret decorated with tuscan half columns, and niches framed by scallop shells in the half-point arches, and an upper body featuring a louvre with openings of the same style, encircled on the base by piriformes (pear like forms)” (ESPANCA, 1993, p.66).
In Rua Nova de Santiago, more precisely in the place where the old wall was open, Francisco de Arruda built a quadrangular Renaissance Water Box, currently with two visible sides, with twelve Tuscan columns and wide entablature, showing a greater artistic commitment in some areas of the aqueduct, contrasting drastically with other sections of the trajectory, in which the usefulness of the construction overlapped any more erudite intentions. Throughout the centuries the aqueduct of Água da Prata underwent some changes between additions and demolitions. Of greater visibility were the several fountains and sources implanted along the city route. In addition to the emblematic termination in Praça do Geraldo next to the ancient Roman arch, it is worth mentioning the fountain in Chão das Covas, dating from 1701. From the period of urban renewal patronized by Cardinal D. Henrique, there is also the fountain of Portas de Moura and still in the sixteenth century, two other fountains were constructed, respectively in Largo da Porta Nova, a work that shows clear similarities to the drawings of Afonso Álvares (architect responsible for the construction of the fountains, in Praça do Geraldo and Portas de Moura) and In the former Rossio of São Brás, a campaign which will date from the philippine period, to encompass still the construction of a wide avenue.
Partially restored in the seventeenth century of the damage suffered as a result of the wars of the Restoration, the aqueduct was the subject of successive improvements during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; however the initial general appearance did not change.