The curious Misarela Bridge is situated over the crystalline river Rabagão, right in the heart of the amazing Gerês mountain, nearby the Venda nova dam, in the Montalegre department.
This structure probably dates back from the Medieval period, or at least has an medieval architectonic tradition, and is spectacularly fit into this rural landscape.
The Misarela Bridge Legend…
The bridge is associated to a legend involving the Devil. It is said that once a feared bandit who was hiding in the remote mountains from the arm of justice, got surrounded and lost, and tried to flee in desperation over the Rabagão river.
In this winter stormy night, the bandit, who no longer had faith in God, called upon the Devil, invoking him at the exact moment of midnight. Satan appeared immediately and asked him what he wanted. The bandit promised to hand over his soul if Satan would help him to cross safely the frightening chasm of the raging river. The pact was made on the condition that the outlaw should walk straight ahead, never looking back. Then the Devil caused to appear above the impetuous current a stone bridge. As quickly as possible, the bandit ran across without looking back. If he had he would have seen the bridge vanish into thin air before his pursuers could cross it.
Years passed and the tormented criminal wanted to repent for his bad past. Quickly he sought out a virtuous priest who had a parish in the lands of the Barroso. The good priest decided to undertake the hard task of redeeming and rescuing this lost soul.
He disguised himself as a humble farmer and on a dark night he also went down to that lonely and dangerous place where he also called upon the Devil at midnight, promising to give him his soul, if he would help him get across to the other side. And the evil bridge appeared over the turbulent torrent. At that same moment, the virtuous and astute priest took out from under his cape a vase of holy water that he sprinkled with a twig of heather (urze), at the same time that he recited the ritual words of exorcism.
The black shape of Satan disappeared and from that moment on, says the legend, the Devil’s Bridge remained forever, elegant and picturesque, perched over the banks of the Rabagão.
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