Braga Destination Guide
Having once been named Bracara Augusta by the Romans, Braga is considered to be the cradle of the earliest cultural and traditional customs that continue to identify Portugal today. Situated in the conservative northern Minho Region, Braga is known to be the oldest city in the country, as well as Portugal’s main ecclesiastical centre due to its intense historical bond with Christianity through time. Having undergone the Roman Empire, the impact of Visigoth and Muslim presence and the drastic transformation of what was then a medieval town, into an improved renaissance city, Braga holds a strong legacy of numerous artistic, gastronomic and historical vestiges until this very day. Portugal-live hopes that you will find this Braga Destination Guide useful.
For those who are curious to learn about Braga’s traditions and lifestyle, there is nothing better than roaming the picturesque streets of this city and observing the day-to-day life of the population. The Praça da República Square is the ideal place to wander, as well as the D. Diogo de Sousa Street, both regarded as the more dynamic, commercial and popular areas in the historical centre of the city. Named after the famous Archbishop who modernised the city during the 16th century, the D. Diogo de Sousa Street includes a number of different shops, including numerous establishments that sell religious artefacts - an example of the city’s strong religious bond.
Deciding what to visit while in Braga is an easy task. The answer is - everything. Don’t let the dimension of Braga’s grounds mislead you. All visitors can count on enjoying beautiful landmarks, monuments, museums and a fabulous blend of different architecture. The green surroundings and natural beauty that encircles this city are definitely also one of Braga’s blessed features, along with the peaceful sense of intimacy that it brings. The Sé de Braga Cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is most likely the oldest Roman influenced monument in the city. Linked to the Sé de Braga Cathedral, you may find a Sacred Arts Museum that holds a number of exquisite ceramics, textiles, furniture and jewellery of its time.
The Bom Jesus Natural Park and its powerful Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary are other places you must visit. Located on a pretty hilltop just a short funicular ride away from Braga’s historical centre, the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary is truly a special piece of architecture. Completed in the 19th century, this sanctuary is a widely visited pilgrimage site and appreciated by travellers all over. Possessing a unique depiction of the Condemnation of Jesus through Baroque influenced architecture and a zig-zag stairway leading you up to the church, you can be sure to be fascinated by this landmark whether its for religious, historical or architectural motives.
There are a number of other sites to visit such as the Tibaes Monastery, the Biscainhos Palace and its wonderful gardens and museum, together with roman fountains, theatres and so much more. The gastronomy, folklore, lively academic spirit and traditional religious festivals, are all customs that this population continues to embrace and be distinguished by. In Braga, one must have the pleasure of tasting this region’s delicious bacalhau and meat based meals, along with the internationally renowned Vinho Verde.
Having once been a discrete medieval town, today Braga continues to carry the legacy of Portugal’s roots and has gained the admiration of the many travellers that have come to visit and appreciate this wonderful city.
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