Torre de Menagem

Tower in Braga

Torre De Menagem, Braga
CC BY-SA 2.0 / K. Kendall

The Castle of Braga is a historic fortification that once encircled the city. Although the only remaining parts of the structure are various gates and towers, the keep tower in the civil parish of São João do Souto is the only authentic remnant of the medieval castle. The original walls were built in the 2nd century AD during the Roman era. While little information is available about the early defenses, a second wall was constructed in the 11th century to the south and west. The first reference to a walled keep dates back to 1161, and by 1210, the compound was expanded with documented references to the road and gate of Souto. In 1300, King Denis ordered the construction of the castle.

The keep, also known as Torre de Menagem, has a rectangular footprint and a vertical block covered in tile. The facades are built with granite masonry that is slightly staggered closer to the ground. The design features chamfered merlons, battlements with gargoyles, and machicolations at the corners. The keep is four stories, approximately 30 meters in height, with the first floor considerably taller than the rest, at around 12 meters. This section is marked by grooves where other buildings once abutted the structure, and some stones have identifiable inscriptions.

Of the city walls, only the gate, tower of Santiago, tower of São Sebastião, and Porta Nova remain, with the latter completely remodeled in a Rococo style and completely different stylistically. The grounds began to be demolished in 1858, and since then, many other parts of the castle have been destroyed. Today, few remnants of the medieval lines remain. The ancient wall can be seen in some backyards of homes along Rua do Anjo and Rua de São Marcos. The Gate of São Tiago still exists, although partially altered due to the construction of the Capela da Senhora da Torre in the second half of the 18th century. Along Rua de São Marcos, one property owner constructed over the foundations of one part of the wall in 1985, and in March 1990, one part of the ancient wall collapsed during the demolition of the old Facho garment factory.

The Torre de Menagem appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Braga!

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Visiting Torre de Menagem

Address: Torre de Menagem, Rua do Castelo, Braga, Portugal
Duration: 20 minutes

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