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Domus Municipalis

Domus Municipalis
Place: Bragança
Domus Municipalis
The Domus Municipalis is the only surviving example of Romanesque civil architecture and the undisputed highlight of a visit to Bragança. Shaped like an irregular pentagon, it contains a vaulted cistern overviewed by a spacious gallery surrounded by windows. This became the meeting place for the great and the good on the city´s council. There has been a great deal of debate surrounding the origins of this building. There are no certainties but the upper section is probably 13th century with the cistern dating back earlier.

The type of material used, stone, is also unusual for this kind of construction even if it goes some distance to explaining its survival. This type of civil structure was normally built out of wood as neither the local nor the state authorities usually had the means to finance projects on this scale.

In decorative terms, there are the fine medallions that run around both the external and internal cornices some of them depicting scenes using Romanesque imagery. The interior is spacious with seating along the walls with the main wall broken up by two doors. The windows have plain frames except for seven which are embellished with a starry pattern. The cover, a mansard roof, was put on in the 20th century as part of a major restoration.

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