The tower construction began in 1170 under the order of D. Afonso Henriques – the first King of Portugal – who also issued a charter with laws, privileges and obligations for Melgaço, creating the municipality.
The tower has a quadrangular shape isolated in the middle of a wall circle. The walls have two doors and are reinforced with three smaller towers with prismatic battlements.
In the XVII century, with the developments in artillery, some adaptations were made with the construction of bastion lines around the medieval area.
Nowadays the interior of the Tower is a museum open for tourists.
Inês Negra (“Black” Agnes)
Inês Negra is part history, part legend.
During the years between 1383 and 1385 there was a period of anarchy and civil war in Portugal due to the death of the King “D. Fernando I” without a male heir. The ruling rights were contested between “D. João, Mestre de Avis” and the ruler of Castile (nowadays: Spain) “D. Juan I”.
Melgaço was under Castile influence when in 1388 “D. João” decided to reconquer it with his army. However the fate of the town was in the end decided in a single fight between two women in front of both armies: Inês “Negra” (supporting the Portuguese cause) versus “Arrenegada” (supporting the Spanish cause). Both women were from Melgaço, Inês was nicknamed “Negra” among the population due to the dark tone of her skin; “Arrenegada” was also a nickname and means something like “the hated one” for her support to Castile. Inês Negra won the fight and the Castile’s army left Melgaço the next day.
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