City of Braga

Braga Portugal: A Pilgrim’s Shrine

There is no other city in Portugal that boasts of as much as impressive churches and sanctuaries as Braga. Hailed as the Portuguse Rome, Braga in Portugal is the country’s oldest city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the world. While it is one of Portugal’s more important historical and religious cities, it is also an important commercial and business hub in Portugal’s Minho region.

Braga’s two of the most important sanctuaries are The Bom Jesus, and the Sameiro, which are both not far from the city center. The elaborately-designed Bom Jesus Sanctuary, just about five kilometers east of the center, is no doubt a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Tourists and pilgrims take a breathtaking journey through its double-granite stairway that are lined with chapels, grottoes, and fountains. While visitors can take the elevator to reach the top of the sanctuary, which stands 400 meters above the sea level, taking the stairway would give them a much more symbolic experience. Moreover, the climb would be worth it as the top offers a fantastic view, not only of the city, but of the region. Some of the views that their eyes can feast on are the Serra de Geres and Serra do Soajo and the beaches of Esposende and Viana do Castelo.

Meanwhile, the Sameiro Sanctuary is three kilometers farther south from Bom Jesus Sanctuary. With its top standing at 566 meters above sea level, it is another site that offers a magnificent view of the region. The sanctuary is a site to marvel in itself. At the top of the entrance stairway stand two pillars that support the statues of the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In addition, at the top of the sanctuary is a neoclassic domed church, which was built in 1863 in honor of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Besides the sanctuaries, a number of historic architectural wonders, which lie within the heart of Braga Portugal region, can take the visitors’ breath away. One of these is the Braga Cathedral, which is the country’s oldest cathedral. Built in the 12th century, it is an amalgam of various architectural styles, which include Romanesque, Manueline, Gothic, and Baroque. If how these different styles are put together to produce a commanding cathedral is not impressive enough, an 18th century double-organ can be found in its the elaborately decorated interior. These organs are no ordinary organs – they are covered in gold and adorned with cherubs and sea creatures.

Furthermore, not far from the cathedral is the former Archbishop’s Palace, a big building that resembles a fortress. Built in the 14th century and made larger in the 17th century, it is often visited for its spotlessly beautiful Santa Barbara Gardens.

Reliable buses and trains are available to help visitors get in and out of Braga Portugal region. The bus station is in Praca da Republica, the city’s broad main square. There are daily connections to Portugal’s other important cities, such as Coimbra, Porto, and Lisbon. From the city, it only takes only an hour to get to Porto, two hours and forty minutes to Coimbra, and five hours and thirty minutes to Lisbon. Urban buses and taxis are available, on the other hand, to help visitors get around the city.

For visitors to appreciate the city even more, they would want to visit during the Holy Week and Easter. At this time, devotees can be seen wearing black habits, carrying torches, and moving in a procession, barefooted. Penitents can also be seen taking pilgrimage to Bom Jesus or Sameiro, climbing the stairway on their hands and knees. Another good time to visit the city is in June, when the Sao Joao Festival is held. The festival, which is held in honor of Saint John the Baptist, takes place on the 23rd and 24th of June. On these days, Braga in Portugal is filled with illumination music, poetry.

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