"Beautiful Braga" Braga by gubbi1
Braga Travel Guide: 137 reviews and 375 photos
It has been quite a while now since my visit to lovely Braga as an excursion from Porto with friends of mine. Back then I was on my first visit to Portugal and my friends wanted to show me this cultural gem. Braga has a very high density of churches making it a hot tip for those fond of sacral art. But it has to be mentioned that Braga is also a very lively young city with many students at its two Universities, the Universidade do Minho and the Universidade Católica Portuguesa. This year (2012) Braga is the European Capital of Youth.
Arriving in Braga it took only a few steps until I found the town really cosy and inviting. Walking on cobble stone inbetween the historic houses made a great impression on me. As my friends know that I like to see churches very much (not in particular religious reasons, but as they transport so much history) they showed me some here in Braga and the surrounding region, some real gems.
The photo above shows the Se de Braga (Catedral de Santa Maria de Braga) which is an important example of the Portuguese Roman style. In it there are the tombs of Henrique of Borgonha and Teresa of Leão (his wife) who are the Counts of the first Portuguese County and parents of Portugals first King, King D. Afonso Henriques. The cathedral has a very rich decor with lots of gold and the walls inside have beautiful tiles.
Two interesting churches are the Capela dos Coimbras and the Church of São João do Souto (photo 2). Both are built side by side to eachother and differ very much in their look. Probably the Church of São João do Souto is the older one of the two while the other was added as an extension. Capela dos Coimbras is built in Manueline style between the 1525 and 1528 century under archbishop D. Diogo de Sousa.
Close to the place we parked and one of the first impressive buildings that I saw in Braga is the Capela Nossa Senhora da Torre (photo3). This chapel is located in the same building complex as the Igreja de São Paulo. Characteristic of the Capela is the huge tower and the small city gate underneath it. Both together, the chapel and the church, house the Museu Pio XII, which presents sacral art and archeology. It is said that from the part of the museum located in the tower you will have a good view over the roofs of Braga.
Another church that you might pass is the Igreja dos Terceiros. It was built in 1690 from alms and its facade is of baroque style. High above the entrance you can see the statue of São Francisco de Assis who lived from 1182 to 1226.
If you have enough of churches and you plan to just walk around, keep your eyes open for the many tiled houses. Some have only plain but colorful azulejos, others are tiled with beautiful pattern.
Another option for what to do and see in Braga is to have a look at the azulejos that cover many facades of buildings.... more travel advice
The Igreja de São Paulo is located in the same building complex as the Capela Nossa Senhora da Torre. Both together, the... more travel advice
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