According to Healthinclude.com, Braga is located in the northwest of Portugal, 50 km from Porto. The city is the administrative center of the district of the same name.
The lands surrounding the modern city have been inhabited since the era of the megalith. In the 3rd century BC. the Celtic tribe of the Bracars lived here. From the 2nd century BC the conquest of these lands by the Romans began at the turn of the eras, around 20 BC. a city was founded, which was named Bracara Augusta after the Roman emperor Augustus, who ruled at that time. The heyday of the city fell on the 2nd century AD. Bracara Augusta was located at the crossroads of important routes that passed through the Iberian Peninsula and led to Rome.. At the end of the 3rd century, the city became the capital of the newly created province of Gallaecia. In the 4th century, when Christianity began to spread in the Roman Empire, Bracara Augusta was one of the main strongholds of religious reforms and was the center of the local diocese. The city was the residence of the archbishop. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city fell under the rule of the Suebi (Germanic tribes from Western Europe), who in 410 made it the capital of their kingdom, later belonged to the Goths, from 715 to the Moors, and only in the 11th century passed to the Christians. Despite all this, Braga is still the residence of the archbishop, where many examples of religious architecture from different eras and styles have been preserved.
The main sights of Braga are located in the Old Town. You can get into it through the gate Arco da Porta Nova. They were erected in 1772 on the site of the former Gothic gate from the 16th century. Modern gates are made in the Baroque style. The old town occupies a small part of modern Braga, which can be bypassed in a few hours. In the center of the Old Town rises the Cathedral (Se de Braga), surrounded by a picturesque park. Due to its rich history and cultural value, the cathedral is one of the most remarkable buildings not only in Braga, but also in Portugal.. It began to be built in 1089 after the Christians conquered the city from the Muslims. The construction of the cathedral was completed by the middle of the 13th century. It was originally built in the Burgundian-Romanesque style. It was a majestic cathedral, from which later church buildings throughout the country were copied. Subsequently, the cathedral was significantly changed, today it is a mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, Portuguese late Gothic (Manuel) styles and Baroque. Its facades are decorated with reliefs and sculptures depicting saints, animals and chimeras, the towers of the cathedral end with spiers, in addition, the cathedral has 5 chapels. The main chapel of the cathedral is decorated with a sculpture of the Madonna with a baby in her arms. The interior of the cathedral is striking. Here you can see the paintings on the walls and ceilings, decorations made of carved gilded wood, tile patterns and sculptures. In the Chapel of the Kings (Capela dos Reis) there is the grave of Count Enrique and Countess Teresa, the parents of the first Portuguese king, in the Chapel of Victory (Capela da Gloria) there is the grave of Archbishop Gonzalo Pereira, which is surrounded by six stone lions and crowned with a sculpture of the archbishop in natural size, in the Chapel of Reverence (Capella da Piedade) lies the famous archbishop Diogo De Sausa, under whose leadership the city was transformed in the 16th century.
The Cathedral Museum operates in the Cathedral. Its expositions are located in 5 halls. These are the hall of valuable historical objects, the hall of carvings, the hall of sculptures, the hall of Portuguese tiles (azulejos) and the hall of bells. The Hall of Valuables exhibits national Portuguese clothing from the 16th to 18th centuries, items used in church services, Spanish and Arabic ivory boxes from the 10th century, as well as items made of gold, silver and precious stones. In the hall of carvings, you can see wooden carved altars, musical instruments and candlesticks. The Sculpture Hall contains a collection of sculptures from the 14th to 18th centuries, including statues of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and many saints. The azulejo hall represents one of the areas of Portuguese decoration with tiles. Here you can see whole paintings assembled from tiles. The collection of bells includes more than 200 bells from different times.
Behind the cathedral are the gardens of St. Barbara. This is one of the most beautiful parks in Portugal. In the center of the gardens is a fountain with a sculpture of St. Barbara. One of the walls of the Archbishop’s Palace overlooks the park. The palace has three wings, which were built at different times. The east wing of the 14th-15th centuries is made in the Gothic style, it is it that overlooks the Gardens of St. Barbara. The west wing was built in the 18th century in the Baroque style, while the south wing was built between the 16th and 18th centuries. Today, the Archbishop’s Palace houses the City Library, the administration of the University of Minho and the district archive. Not far from the gardens of St. Barbara in one of the parks is the only known monument left from the ancient city of Bracara Augusta – Idols Fountain. This is a low monument in the form of a granite stone, decorated with several sculptures and Celtic inscriptions. The monument was built in the 1st century AD. in honor of the local god Tomosoenabriago, who was worshiped by the Romans. At first, Idol Fountain was kept in the Archbishop’s Palace, and later was moved to its original location.
Other religious buildings in the old town include the Gothic chapel of Coimbras (1525), the Miserecordia church (1562), the 17th century Santa Cruz church with a very high nave, the 17th century Carmo church, which is part of the Carmelite convent (1653), the church St. Paul’s 16th century, St. Vincent’s Church 16th century, which was built on the site of the ruined church of the 7th century, and where the oldest religious landmark of Braga is kept – a stone from the old church with an ancient inscription, as well as the Populo church of the late 16th century, which is adjacent to Town Hall. Be sure to head to the city hall with the 18th century Pelican Fountain, the chic Rayo Palace (1754) and the building of the city’s most popular theater, accommodating more than 1000 people, the Circo Theatre.
There are many museums in Braga. At the Biscanos Museum collections of works of applied art are exhibited and the atmosphere of life of the 18th century is recreated. Here you can see furniture, ceramics, porcelain and glassware. The museum building is surrounded by three-level gardens. The Pius XII Museum is named after the famous Pope. The museum displays Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age tools, as well as pottery from prehistoric and Roman times. The Medina Museum is located in the same building as the Pius XII Museum. The museum’s collection includes about 83 oil paintings, 21 drawings, portraits and landscapes by the artist Enrique Medina. Enrique Medina is a famous Portuguese artist who was born in 1901 in Porto. Noguera Da Silva Museum was created on the basis of items that belonged to the entrepreneur Noguera Da Silva, which he bequeathed to the University of Minho. It is a collection of antique and art objects such as sculptures, paintings of various styles and times, ceramics, ivory, paintings by Portuguese masters, icons and furniture from the 17th century. The Diogo De Sauce Museum was founded in 1918. The museum presents archaeological finds from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. The Museum of Photography houses one of the largest collections of photographs in the country. Here you can see old photos of the city.
No less interesting are the surroundings of the city.
5 km from Braga on a high hill stands the world-famous Church of Christ on Calvary (Bon Jesus do Monte Sanctueri). It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Portugal.. The first mention of a church on this hill dates back to 1373. It was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries. The current church was built between 1723 and 1811 in the Portuguese Baroque style. It is dedicated to the life of Jesus Christ. A zigzag-shaped staircase rises to the church at a height of 116 m, which is decorated with statues, flower beds and fountains. It is believed that, climbing it, pilgrims go through the entire life path of Jesus and purify their souls, the culmination of this “purification” is the temple. A funicular is also laid along the hill. So you don’t have to walk up. The church is surrounded by gardens in which there are 4 chapels separated by fountains. The chapels were erected in honor of the apostles of Jesus Christ: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. Each of them is decorated with terracotta sculptures.
Not far from the city are the hill of Falperra with the church of the same name from the 17th century, the village of Tebaes with a monastery, which was first mentioned in the 6th century, and a museum of stringed instruments from the Middle Ages to the present day, the village of Montelios, where the chapel of St. Frutuoso stands, the original building on the site of which appeared in the 7th century, and the huge stadium on the hill of Monte Castro, which can accommodate over 30,000 people.