Melgaço is one of those places that are kept in our memory. Because of the landscapes, people, genuine and unique flavors.
In Melgaço we can find nature, culture, history and heritage. There are many traditions preserved in time and space. From the megalithic monuments to the remains of the Roman empire, it is possible to find several attractions that lead us to a unique universe of discovery: The bridges that keep mysteries and tales, the villages that define the landscape, the crystal clear water lines, the richness of the fauna and flora, the walking routes.
The millenary history of Melgaço provides a wealth of traditions, stories, tales and testimonies of past experiences.
Prehistory and Roman Empire
A territory with millenary human occupation
One of the largest and most important megalithic necropolises of the Iberian Peninsula is located on the Castro Laboreiro highland, dating from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. It is also here that the rock engravings of Fieiral can be found, a testimony that comes from the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
It is also possible to see remainings of the Roman empire in Melgaço, such as Ponte da Cava da Velha or Ponte das Cainheiras.
The medieval fortress of Melgaço, built by D. Afonso Henriques, located in the center of the village, was the main military strategic point of Alto Minho in the 12th century. Eight hundred years later, it is still possible to visit testimonies of that period, among which the castles of Melgaço and Castro Laboreiro, the Main Church of Melgaço, and the Romanesque Church of Paderne or the monastery of Fiães stand out.
From place to place
Discover Brandas e as Inverneiras
In Melgaço, the typical villages preserve their millenary history in time and space. Through a short walk it is possible to get to know the few nomadic families that move between Brandas – villages that are on high and sunny lands and more suitable for hot weather – and Inverneiras – villages that are in sheltered valleys that allow them to protect themselves from the atmospheric adversities of winter on the mountain.
A unique occupancy system in the world
To find out more about this reality, visit the Castro Laboreiro Museum Center and the Peneda-Gerês National entry in Lamas de Mouro.
In the more mountainous area of Melgaço, the villages that have settled here over the years have always sought more efficient and sustainable management of their natural resources, moving to the highest and coolest places in the summer, which provided great support for grazing and agriculture (Brandas). The shepherds also called “brandeiros”, carried out what is called transhumance, which is the seasonal movement of their animals, accompanying them to the highest areas in search of fresh pasture and crystalline waters and freeing the lower lands for agriculture.
Borderland: emigration and smuggling
The first PT/ES border mark is located in Cevide. The place take us to the times of illegal emigration and smuggling in the 60s and 80s of the 20th century. It is also possible to visit, in Vila de Melgaço, the “Espaço Memória e Fronteira”. It was built in memory of a recent past and allows you to relive and perpetuate the stories of clandestinity lived on the border and which are part of Melgaço’s cultural identity.
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