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A Visit to Braga

 
Place:Braga
Photo:José Manuel
Photo:José Manuel

Don't miss
  • watch the night-time Procession of Senhor Ecce Homo during the Holy Week Celebrations
  • visit the Bracara Augusta event
  • visit the Peneda-Gerês National Park
  • visit the S. Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary or the Nossa Senhora da Abadia Sanctuary.

Braga is a lively city, one of the oldest in the country, and is teeming with young people who study at its universities.

Built more than 2,000 years ago, “Bracara Augusta” was, as the name indicates, founded by Augustus; it was located on one of the main Roman roads in the Iberian Peninsula, since it was the administrative seat of the Empire, and later given the status of capital of the Roman province of Gallaecia, present-day Galicia, by Emperor Caracalla. The Braga Diocese is the oldest in Portugal and, in the Middle Ages, the city even competed with Santiago de Compostela in power and importance. One of the Camiños de Santiago passed through here, when this pilgrimage cult grew with the Christian reconquest and the foundation of Portugal.

Braga’s Cathedral is also the oldest in the country and was built in the 12th century by the parents of Portugal’s first King, D. Henrique and D. Teresa, who are buried there. Braga is to this day one of the country’s main religious centres, having the Holy Week Celebrations and the São João Festival as the highlights in its liturgical and tourist calendar.

Besides the Tesouro-Museu da Sé (Cathedral Treasure Museum), it is worth visiting the Biscainhos Museum, housed in a Baroque palace, a landmark period in the history of Braga, and the D. Diogo de Sousa Archaeological Museum, since the city also abounds in remains from the Roman era. We suggest a leisurely stroll around the historic centre to visit some of the many churches, admire the houses and historical buildings, such as the Palácio do Raio, the Theatro Circo, the Arco da Porta Nova, and to have a coffee at the emblematic Brasileira with a view of the busy Avenida Central. But Braga is considered the youngest city in Portugal and, from its contemporary landmarks, the Braga Municipal Stadium stands out, designed by Souto Moura, one of the most prestigious Portuguese architects and winner of the Pritzker Prize.


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