The municipality of Pontós, in the Alt Empordà, has one of the few remaining vestiges of the old line of optical telegraphy that united Madrid with the French border. It is known as Torre de l’Àngel (Angel Tower), a construction that was part of the first national and international telecommunications system built by the Spanish State in the mid-nineteenth century.
It was a turbulent time and the new liberal Spanish State needed to have rapid communications, in order to ensure control over the territory. The fact of choosing Pontós to build one of the towers of this system is explained by two reasons: first, its unbeatable topographic situation and secondly, its strategic location, since the town was located next to the main communication route of the area – the road that joined Girona with Figueres and the French border.
The use of the optical telegraphy network was restricted to political and military authorities.
The use of the optical telegraphy network was restricted to political and military authorities. The so-called civil line began to be built in 1844. The initial project envisaged the construction of a large number of jambs, but only three were finished: the one from Madrid to Irún, the one from Madrid to Cádiz, and the from Madrid to the French border, passing through Barcelona, which became operational in 1850.
Following the tradition of the Spanish military engineers, these towers were authentic fortresses. They consisted of a low and two floors. On the last floor is where the telegraphy device was installed. When the tower became part of the military line, in 1855, defensive systems were reinforced and completely restructured. The line was in operation until 1862, when the tower was completely abandoned. In the mid-2000s the remains of this tower were completely restored.
In the mid-2000s the remains of this tower were completely restored.
On the origin of the name, there are two theories. The first, that it was a watchtower of the castle that was in that site in the Middle Ages. The second, which has taken the name of an ancient hermitage of the fifteenth century dedicated to the Angel Custodio and Saints Sebastian and Bernardino, who had in that same point.