The capital of Portuguese Baroque
Founded in Roman times as “Bracara Augusta”, Braga is one of the first Portuguese cities and one of world’s most ancient Christian cities. Natural centre of the highly populated Minho region, it is located in the place where the mountain inland ends and the highly fertile valleys begin. Known as “Baroque City”, it is considered a landmark of Portuguese Baroque. Some call it “the Portuguese Rome”, because of its several squares and churches. The historical centre is practically a traffic-free zone, enabling pleasant walks along Souto street, the main commercial area, as well as a visit to millennium-old cathedral. The recent development of Braga is intimately related to Minho University, which offers a wide range of higher education courses, attracting many young people who settle here. The city has also modern cultural and sport facilities, such as Exhibit Park and Congress Centre, the daring Municipal Stadium, created by Souto Moura for UEFA Euro 2004 and the beautiful Theatro Circo, recently restored. Bom Jesus Sanctuary is also one of the major highlights. It is located northeast over a mountain, offering a splendid view over the city. It can be reached whether trough a monumental staircase or through a peculiar century-old water-powered lift.