Visit to Braga Cathedral, Portugal
Braga is 55kms north of Porto. From Porto, the plan was to drive to Guimaraes, a Unesco World Heritage site. But Bom Jesus do Monte a pilgrimage site near Braga seemed so alluring that we planned a night halt at Braga. By the time we reached our hotel it was almost eight in the evening. That part of the town looked calm and there were hardly any people in the streets. Luckily we got a good restaurant and had local food there.
We gave up plans of discovering the city that night. It had already been a long day in Tomar with Monastery of Tomar in the morning, touring Coimbra at noon and evening at Porto. Both body and mind demanded a pause.
The next day we explored the town for a while, again not much crowd. We were early I think. The cathedral too hadn’t opened luckily some souvenir shops were open. The main site we spent time was at Braga’s Cathedral and the souvenirs shops around it. I found the souvenirs here cost the least compared to the other cities of Portugal.
History of Braga Cathedral
Braga was the capital Suebi Kingdom during 3rd century. It was a catholic kingdom till Moors conquered it 8th century. The city was back to Christian hands during 11th century. Braga cathedral is older than the nation itself. Bishop Pedro started to build a cathedral, consecrated it in 1089. The construction of Braga Cathedral spanned 2 centuries and was completed in middle of 13th century. So it has a touch of different architectural styles.
The interior is such a mix of styles. It is very much evident that the continuity in styles is missing. The original Romanesque style of architecture is almost gone except at nave. Of the 5 chapels only the main chapel is in manueline style rest are in baroque.
The most stunning part of Braga cathedral interiors is the high choir near entrance of the cathedral. The organ has intricate and has enormous amount of gilded work on it. You can see in picture below. It belongs to the baroque period. This is the first sight that caught my attention and I was completely mesmerized and kept gazing at it till my neck ached. The painted ceiling and sculptured gilt wood work is one of its kinds in whole of Portugal I read later. It is placed in a symmetric manner on both sides of transept.
Tickets and Open Timings of Braga Cathedral
Open every day of the week from 8 in morning to 7 in evening.
Entrance tickets cost 5euros per person.
Travel Tips to Braga
If you are staying in Braga plan a day’s outing to the country’s first capital nearby, the World Heritage city of Guimarães.
Visit Bom Jesus do Monte a pilgrimage site near Braga.
Porto, a city of monumental bridges is 55kms south of Braga.