Braga, the third largest city in Portugal, is located in the north of Portugal, close to the Spanish border. The Roman Emperor Augustus established Bracara Augusta in 20 BC. The city grew and became very prosperous until Emperor Diocletianus promoted it to capital of the province of Gallaecia in the 3rd century AD.
The 6th century, marked the start of the long-lasting church influence, the city became walled in the 16th century. In the following centuries Braga played a major role in the christianisation of the Iberian Peninsula. The Moors took over for a period, eventually replaced by Christian forces. Major renovations during the 18th century included architectural Baroque style modernisation of much of the city.
Some of Braga’s architectural delights include the Palace of the Falcoes, the 18th century Arch of the New Gate, the ancient Roman public baths Thermae of Maximinus, the Baroque-Rococo Palace of Raio and the 20th century revivalist Theatro Circo. There are also many churches from most periods dotted throughout the city.
The Treasure Museum of the Se Cathedral displays 16-18th century cultural and religious artefacts including azulejo tiles. The Museum Medina with its oil paintings and drawings by Henrique Medina, is co-housed with the Museum of Pius XII with its Palaeolithic to Bronze Age era artefacts. The Museum of the Biscainhos, housed in a historical Palace, displays decorative art including Oriental and European porcelain, clocks and watches, furniture and ceramics.
Also interesting are the photography-dedicated Museum of Image near Braga Castle, the Museum of String Instruments with early Portuguese examples such as Mandolins, Cavaquinhos and guitars and the Museum of Nogueira da Silva with its unique Renaissance artwork and religious art.
But it’s not all about the past in Braga; it’s the European Youth Capital of 2012.
Posted : Monday, August 13th, 2012 at 10:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save