Braga, one of the oldest cities in Europe founded in 16 BC known as the Portuguese Rome

Braga, one of the oldest cities in Europe founded in 16 BC known as the Portuguese Rome

Braga

Braga is one of the oldest cities in Europe founded in 16 BC as “Bracara Augusta” in honor of the Roman emperor Augustus. Located in the center of Minho, Braga is one of the main religious centers in Portugal, with 49 churches and chapels, it is known as the city of archbishops, the city of youth and Portuguese Rome. Currently Braga is a very dynamic city, with a strong economic activity in the areas of commerce and services, teaching and research, civil construction, information technology and new technologies, tourism and various branches of industry and handicrafts. Braga has a great impact on the software industry, being considered by many to be the Silicon Valley Portuguesa. It is designated as the capital of commerce in Portugal, with the largest pedestrian area in Portugal where we can enjoy a wide variety of commerce with local and international stores, service companies, and restaurants with terraces.

Braga provides diverse natural landscapes of great beauty due to its geographic location: Cávado river to the north, Serra dos Picos to the south (566 meters altitude), Serra dos Carvalhos to Nascente (479 meters altitude) and Famalicão and Barcelos a West. It is located at a distance of 50 kms from Porto International Airport, and 100 kms from Vigo Airport.

Attractions to visit in Braga (Top 10):

Bom Jesus do Monte

Escadório do Bom Jesus do Monte, divided into "Escadório do Pórtico", the "Escadório dos Cinco Sentidos" and the "Escadório das Três Virtudes", with allegorical ornamental fountains representing biblical characters, and the Via Sacra do Bom Jesus

Escadório do Bom Jesus do Monte, divided into “Escadório do Pórtico”, the “Escadório dos Cinco Sentidos” and the “Escadório das Três Virtudes”, with allegorical ornamental fountains representing biblical characters, and the Via Sacra do Bom Jesus

Bom Jesus do Monte is a Catholic sanctuary dedicated to Senhor Bom Jesus, classified as UNESCO World Heritage located in Tenões on the outskirts of the city of Braga. The Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary is a notable example of a pilgrimage site consisting of the Escadório do Bom Jesus do Monte, divided into “Escadório do Pórtico”, the “Escadório dos Cinco Sentidos” and “Escadório das Três Virtudes”. Along the stairway we find the allegorical ornamental fountains representing biblical characters, and the Via Sacra do Bom Jesus, consisting of 17 chapels and the Igreja do Bom Jesus flanked by two towers, topped by a triangular pediment, located at the top of the hill, the Bom Jesus Gardens, and the Bom Jesus Elevator, on the side parallel to the staircase. The Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary is the most visited attraction in Braga.

Braga Cathedral

Sé Catedral de Braga is a Romantic, Manueline and Baroque cathedral, where the tombs of D. Afonso Henriques’ parents are: Henrique de Borgonha, count of Portucale and his wife, Teresa de Leão. The Sé de Braga it was founded as the seat of the bishopric by St. James Major, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ martyred in the year 44;

Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Sameiro

Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Sameiro is a Marian sanctuary located in Braga, with the main altar in polished white granite, the silver tabernacle, an imposing staircase with the image of the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the top . One of the attractions of the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Sameiro is the view over the city of Braga;

Avenida Central de Braga

Avenida Central de Braga is one of the main avenues in Braga, located in the historic center of the city, it is the largest square in Portugal and one of the largest in Europe. The avenue is flanked by noble buildings, namely the Basilica dos Congragados. At the top of Avenida Central we find Praça da República where we can see the keep of the old castle of Braga behind the church of Lapa;

Parque da Ponte

Parque da Ponte is an urban park in the city of Braga with 24,000 m2 awarded in 2011 with a national level award for Public Spaces. Parque da Ponte is the site of the old medieval bridge over the East River that allowed traffic to Guimarães, currently we find the Chapel of São João Batista, the exhibition park of Braga, the Sports Complex of Ponte, and the Parque de Campismo da Bridge;

Arco da Porta Nova

Arco da Porta Nova is the site of one of the doors on the city walls, opened in 1512. Currently it is a baroque and neoclassical arch classified as a National Monument since 1910, by André Soares, an important Portuguese sculptor and architect active in Northern Portugal during the 18th century;

Adaúfe River Beach Park

Parque da Praia Fluvial de Adaúfe is a park with a wide grass area very visited in Braga, with a river beach next to the Cávado River. The bathing season on the Adaúfe river beach opens from June to September;

Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães

São Martinho de Tibães Monastery is an imposing monastery founded in the 11th century, classified as a Public Interest Building since 1944. the São Martinho de Tibães Monastery was the chosen stage for the XXIII Iberian Summit that took place in Portugal in the January 18th and 19th, 2008. Since February 2010, a guesthouse with 9 rooms and the restaurant “Eau Vive de Tibães” opened at the Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães. The Monastery Museum lost in 1834, due to the alienation of the property, much of the valuable estate of the region composed of painting, sculpture and sacred art, and a vast collection of books, however we can still go through the “Museological Route”, with the area surrounding the Monastery, its architecture, the ruins of previous buildings, the forest, the gardens, and the agricultural fields;

Castelo de Lanhoso

Castelo de Lanhoso classified as a National Monument 1910, it is one of the most imposing Portuguese castles in Portugal, built on top of Monte do Pilar (the largest granite monolith in Portugal), isolated between the valleys of the Ave and Cávado rivers. Inside the walls there is the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Pilar, a 17th century sanctuary built with stone from the old walls. Halfway down the slope we find traces of an old Romanized fort;

Braga Castle Keep

Castelo de Braga Main Tower are the remains of the Braga Castle demolished in 1906. The Main Tower and some sections of the medieval wall were classified as a National Monument in 1910.

Other attractions to visit in Braga

Citânia de Briteiros is an archaeological site from the Iron Age, discovered by the archaeologist Martins Sarmento in 1875, located on the top of the hill of São Romão, municipality of Guimarães, close to the sanctuaries of Sameiro and Bom Jesus de Braga. It is a citania with the general characteristics of the castros culture of the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, with traces of Latin inscriptions, coins of the Republic and the Empire, fragments of imported ceramics (terra sigillata), glass, and others;

  • Quinta Pedagógica de Braga, is an old traditional Minho farm, with about two and a half hectares, restructured with the aim of strengthening environmental education and the consequent contact of Man with nature;
  • Jardim de Santa Bárbara is a public municipal garden, next to the medieval wing of Paço Episcopal Bracarense, with the 17th century fountain and statue of Santa Bárbara, which originally belonged to the old Convento dos Remédios;
  • Museu dos Biscainhos is an aristocratic palace, with large rooms with luxurious ceilings, and baroque gardens that reveal the daily life of the 17th century nobility, with numerous references to the lives of the other inhabitants of the space: servants, slaves, chaplains;
  • Maximinus Roman Baths, are the ruins of a public bath next to the “Forum” of the ancient Roman city of “Bracara Augusta”;
  • Monte do Picoto Park, is a forest park located in Monte do Picoto, with panoramic views of the city of Braga;
  • Museum of Archeology D. Diogo de Sousa, is an archeology museum created on March 28, 1918, with collections of archeology from the North of Portugal, whose chronology extends from the Paleolithic to Medieval times, where we find the “best collection of milestones from all over Europe”, thousands of coins from the High Empire and tens of thousands of coins from the Lower Empire, photographic archive, images related to missing architectural and archaeological monuments;
  • Igreja de São Vítor
  • Palácio Raio, also referred to as Casa do Mexicano is a palace of architecture in Joanine Baroque style, with a facade with Manueline windows surrounded by blue tiled tiles. In the Raio Palace there is a museum with machines and devices used in medical care, as well as other utensils from the old hospitals;
  • Pópulo Church
  • Santa Cruz Church
  • Taipas Termal
  • Basilica of the Congregates the old Church of the Congregates in Baroque and Rococo style, which received the title of Minor Basilica in 1975 by the Holy See, and has been classified as a Building of Public Interest since 1993;
  • Fonte do ídolo
  • Prado Bridge
  • Igreja Misericórdia
  • Biscaínhos Museum Garden
  • Carmo Church
  • São Vicente Church
  • Braga City Council
  • Church of Lapa
  • Pius XII Museum
  • Santo André de Rendufe Monastery
  • Archbishop’s Court
  • Church of Santa Maria Madalena
  • São Marcos Church
  • Archdiocese of Braga
  • Dona chica’s castle

Activities in Braga

Braga has a strong connection to sport, based on the elaboration of the “Carta Desportiva de Braga”, a document made with the objective of characterizing sports activities, and the most appropriate sports equipment for the population. This bet on sport is visible in projects such as “Boccia Sénior”, “BragActiva” or “MEXE-TE Braga”; and equipment such as the Braga Walking and Running Municipal Center, the Swimming Schools or the Braga Municipal Stadium.

Braga handicrafts, namely sacred art, cordoformes (string instruments, namely cavaquinhos and violas braguesas), tiles and gilt carving have a prominent place in the city’s tradition, and are an important tourist attraction. The promotion of Braga’s handicrafts is visible in the creation of small businesses, such as the production of soaps, jams, liqueurs, jewelry, dolls painted with regional costumes, and shops selling religious products.

Entrepreneurship and technology from Braga

Braga has a economy and a dynamic business environment in constant development and innovation. This innovation is reflected in the existence of a leading European academic environment, in the creation and growth of the International Nanotechnology Laboratory, the only one in the world dedicated to nanotechnologies, and in Startup Braga, an innovation hub. Braga is considered the national Silicon Valley due to the large number of existing software companies, namely Primavera Software (Portuguese company leader in software production in Portugal), Mobicomp (Portuguese company leader in business solutions related to computing technologies and communications) or Edigma (Portuguese company leader in digital project management and interactivity). This Minho city also invests in projects to support entrepreneurship, namely Via Verde Empresa, the Exceptional Regime for Strategic Enterprises or Industrial Regeneration.

Gastronomy of Braga

Braga offers its visitors a rich and varied cuisine, with specialties such as “cod à Braga” or “cod à Narcisa”, porridge sarrabulho, rojões à Minhota, roast kid Braga’s fashion, roasted veal, Braga’s duck rice, Minho-style cod, frying pans, green broth with corn bread, Abade de Priscos pudding, fidalguinhos, flint, patience, the supplements, the Moracas cavacas, the sweet slices of Braga, the broinhas de Santo António, the sameirinhos, the chila cigars, the scrambled, the widows of Braga, the french toast and vermicelli.

Braga includes the Cávado River wine region:

  • Alvarinho
  • Mourisco de Braga ou Mourisco da Semente

The parties, fairs and pilgrimages of Braga

  • Solenidades da Semana Santa
  • Romaria a São Vicente
  • Festival Internacional de Folclore
  • Braga Romana: Reviver Bracara Augusta
  • Festival de São João
  • Fim de semana gastronómico
  • Vinho verde Fest
  • Gastronomia Viva
  • Feira de artesanato

Itineraries in Mafra

  • Roteiro juvenil de Braga;
  • Roteiro de Bracara Augusta;
  • Roteiro medieval de Braga;
  • Roteiro do Barroco de Braga;
  • Caminho Português de Santiago de Compostela.

Quick facts about Braga

Braga is a capital city of the district of Braga, with:

  • Population of the city: 110 thousand inhabitants
  • Population of the county: 200 thousand inhabitants
  • District: Braga
  • Region: Minho
  • Parishes: 37
  • Municipal Holiday: June 24
  • Fluvial beaches: 4 (Navarra river beach, Cavadinho river beach in Crespos, Adaúfe river beach, Merelim São Paio river beach and Ponte do Bico leisure area)
  • Companies: 19 thousand
  • Hotels: 31
  • Rural tourism developments: 4
  • Hostels e Guest Houses: 10
  • Local Accommodation: 19
  • Campsites: 1
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