UMinho OA seminar – city of Braga
Braga – The so called “Green Minho Capital” is one of the most important northern cities of Portugal. In Roman times, it was known as Bracara Augusta, designation that certifies its importance as an administrative center of the Roman Empire.
For those who have some hours free, we suggest a stroll to some interesting places in the city of Braga.
The Praça da República is the best place to start your stroll. Go to the Café Vianna, a good place to see the social life of the city. The Astória is another pleasant coffee house of great tradition. Both these places are considered as being the ideal places to absorb and take in the vibe of the city.
At the beginning of the São Marcos street, a well known building called the Casa dos Crivos stands out from the other surrounding structures due to its astounding architectural beauty. It is an austere building, of well-known monastic influences, with windows of guillotine that create a diffuse environment in the interior of the rooms.
Going down in the direction of the Largo Carlos Amarante, one will find the old Hospital of São Marcos building. The structure has at the top eight images that represent, in natural size, martyrs and apostles. All these amazing images are of the creation of the well-known city architect, Carlos Amarante.
You are also invited to take in the tour of the Avenida da Liberdade (one of the prominent avenues of the city of Braga) where you will find the renewed city theatre, Theatro Circo.
Just below and to the right of the Avenida da Liberdade you will come into the Raio street. There you will find the Palácio do Raio, also known as House of the Mexican. It was constructed by a wealthy trader in the XVII century.
Another characteristic site of great architectural and religious importance for the city of Braga is the Cathedral. The passing centuries have left visible marks presenting a structure with various architectural styles. The Cathedral was constructed by D. Henrique and D. Teresa, whose tombs can be found in one of the chapels.
The Cathedral is the heart of the religious festivities of the holy week in Braga. It attracts numerous visitors every year, from the north of Portugal , including the surrounding Spanish province of Galiza. Within the Cathedral, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Cathedral treasury room, a testimony of the industry development dedicated to sacred art in Braga, predominately in the XVI century.
Upon exiting the Cathedral, you can visit the old Paço Episcopal. Presently this building is occupied by several services of the Universidade do Minho, among them the Public Library fo Braga (integrated in the university since 1975). This library is considered as being one of richest in the country, filled with documents from old monasteries throughout the Minho region.
In the street called Biscainhos, one may visit a museum with the same name. Situated within a palace dating from the XVII century, with an interesting historical garden, it offers you a small collection decorative arts. A must for visitors that appreciate decorative arts. Further down located within the in the street called Souto, is the Arco da Porta Nova, an old entrance of the city.
To finish your visit with “a cherry on top”, go to Bom Jesus do Monte, on the other side of the city. The elevador is testimony of true historical workmanship, being the first inclined funicular constructed in the Iberian Peninsula. Appreciate this fine example of XVIII century engineering workmanship, and finally to round off your visit, let yourself be overwhelmed with the sight over the city, truly unique.