A common expression in Portuguese language may be translated "... it is older than the cathedral of Braga".
What you may visit is, nowadays, not exactly something of the older references in Portuguese culture, but a complex of old and very old chapels, each one with its own history.
Started in the 11th century is a landmark in Portuguese cultural history, and houses a rich religious treasure, with a separated visit.
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Saint "João do Souto" church
Saint Barbara Gardens
A nice garden in the centre of Braga, close to the medieval Archbishop's Palace, is dedicated to this saint, whose statue tops the central fountain, dating from the 17th century.
More than 90% of the castles, stand in a high hill, easy to see from distance.
That was not the case of Braga, where the castle almost disappeared engulfed by construction.
The main tower, that was probably built in the beginning of the 14th century, is all that lasts today, and, to find it, you may search Castelo street, in the centre of town.
One of the largest avenues in Braga, this is the main axis of the historical centre.
Coming from the 16th century, it was being enlarged and re-baptized, until its actual look and name.
Bom Jesus do Monte
It is always nice to rediscover Bom Jesus. By day or by night, it is a lively place, where one thing is now missing: the famous "canudo" used to see Braga from the distance. Built in the transition from the 18th to the 19th centuries, this big church was an ambitious project to integrate several popular initiatives started in 1629 with a chapel.
I've been in Bom Jesus several times, but always during the day. This time I went there by night and had a new perspective. In a very hot night, this is a cool spot among trees with the monument in the back and the city unfolding at your feet. Nice, but it doesn't replace the visit during the day.
Included in the most visited complex of Braga - the shrine of Bom Jesus do Monte - the staircase is a wonderful piece of art, full of symbolism and precious details. Descending in a zigzag, each landing is decorated with chapels and fountains, all of them with a different theme.
According to the place where you have parked, you may plan your descent by foot, using the old water-moving funicular (the oldest in Iberia, but still safe and working) in your way up, or to do it in reverse order.
More than a sanctuary, this complex in a mountain overlooking the city, is Braga landmark.
This gem of Portuguese Baroque surrounded by pleasant gardens, is the right place to "ver Braga por um canudo" (locals will explain you the meaning of this popular phrase), and spend a couple of relaxing hours.
Close to Bom Jesus, another sanctuary, built in the 19th century, stands in the hills overlooking Braga.
Though missing the garden and the great views over town, Sameiro is an important pilgrimage place, and interesting to visit.
Many years later I returned there... by night.
A different perspective, a calm stroll in a hot night, overlooking the city.
Close to Braga, Falperra is a mountain often used to motor racing. It's a beautiful trip, ending in Santa Maria Madalena church, also called Falperra church.
It's a beautiful building from the 18th century, with good tiles inside.
Without the visibility and attraction of Bom Jesus and Sameiro, this church is generally considered the third element in the sanctuaries tour in the outskirts of Braga.
Citânia de Briteiros
Maybe I should post this tip under Briteiros, but this village has nothing else remarkable, and the "Citânia" happens to be outside it.
So, I think it may be included in Braga (or Guimarães), as something a little more distant, but easy to include in the mandatory trip to Bom Jesus and Sameiro.Citânia de Briteiros is an archaeological site from the iron age, with Celtic and roman adding. Two original houses were rebuilt.
Signposted in the ways to the sanctuaries.
Church from the 16th century rebuilt in the 19th
Church from the 18th century
"São Victor" church
Sober church from the 17th century
"A pedreira" - Stadium
Soccer stadium famous due to its special integration in the landscape