Now now, it is not only that! Just like Ourense was not only the city of bridges. In fact, Braga is way more interesting than Ourense in a sense of what you can do there, both as a tourist and as someone who lives there.
To make things even more interesting, (according to Wikipedia) Braga, during the Roman Empire, was known as Bracara Augusta and it was the center of the province of Gallaecia. In fact, in that day not just the north of Portugal was this province, but also Asturias and Leon.
Well, I guess that in whole Europe, sister countries that share a somewhat common history, do tend to be very different. And the today’s Braga, is very different from other Galician cities while sharing a common history (up to a point anyway).
First, the trains look different! 😅 And this is the old Alfa Pendular on the right side of the image. Yep, the same one I took to go to Sintra and the same one that got me very sick…
Moving on from my trains addiction, Braga is a beautiful and rich surprise. I say that because the most known airport in the area (even for Galicia region) is at Porto. Now even though Porto is not even at 1 hour away of Braga, it makes the city fall into shadow.
In Braga, in the old part of the city, most doors have different colors. This is in great contrast with the general stony look and feel of the houses. And is a beautiful approach to eliminate in the alleyways the feeling that you are walking in a tunnel…
Now, there are many churches in Braga. Most of them are big, beautiful and looking like there were made in the same style.
The following is Convento dos Congregados from the XVIII-th century. If you come to Braga by car, the best spot to leave it, in the central area, is right around this place.
Right in front of the majestic church, there is a park, Jardim da Avenida Central, where I found a pair of common blackbirds (female in brown and male in black with orange bill and eye-ring) digging for small insects.
Panoramic view of Convento dos Congregados and the small park.
Inside the Convento dos Congregados.
Back on the park, from one end of it, you can take a similar picture of Capela de Nossa Senhora a Branca (seen on the left side of the image), and Igreja do Bom Jesus in the far distance.
The shopping street, Avenida da Liberdade.
I am not a huge fan of shopping, but I do like to make pictures of buildings in decay and here are many such opportunities.
Walking up on the same avenue, on the right side, there will be this blue ceramic tiles Palacio do Raio (1752-1755). At the time of my arrival here, it was closed, but it can be visited. Inside it showcases the history of Braga/Portugal and the history of this place during the Roman period.
Igreja de Santa Cruz XVII-th century.
The church of Hospital de Sao Marcos.
Panoramic view of Largo de Santa Cruz.
Remember what I said about the doors? Well just on the right side of the Santa Cruz Church, there is an alleyway (Rua do Anjo) with colorful buildings.
But is not the only place with such buildings as many streets in the old center have edifices like such.
The statue Dom Jao Peculiar, and the Church of Sao Paulo.
Braga Cathedral. This huge edifice marks the place of the most beautiful area in Braga.
The pictures I made and posted on this article, come from different days, so that on one time I had a sunny day with a few clouds, while on another day it was very cloudy… Also at one time, there was a wedding while on another time, the place looked deserted.
The Cathedral is definitely a place to visit since it offers many interesting historical artifacts that range from tombs to ancient Romanic objects. This single place is one of the most important (for Christians) in the peninsula. Since Braga is a very old Romanic city (Bracara Augusta in latin), also its affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church, goes way back. Construction of the Cathedral started in the XII-th century and lasted until the middle of the XIII with many changes to come in later years.
Many interesting shops can be found in this area. Like this guitar shop.
Hand made accessories.
Fancy cafeterias where there are plenty objects to make abstract photography.
In the same area, there is this fountain, Fonte dos Castelos, which is the no 1 destination for pigeons.
Torre de Menagem and the beautiful Lapa Church.
This tower is the main remnant of the Castle of Braga.
Santa Barbara Commercial Center Fountain.
The gardens of Santa Barbara and the Archbishops’s Court.
The commercial center and Terceiros Church.
Antigo Paco Episcopal Bracarense.
Camera Municipal de Braga.
A beautiful collection of buildings in decay, right in the center of Braga, next to the Camera Municipal.
Igreja do Populo and the Salgado Zenha monument.
Detail of the monument
Igreja do Populo.
Interesting tree planted outside of a Tapas Restaurant.
Leaving this area, it was time to head back to the central area (Avenida Central) to watch a fashion show. (in the image, illuminated, is the Lapa Church)
Braga football team, SC Braga.
Braga is a very interesting city for us the tourists but is also important both for Portugal and Galicia-Spain. It has many fancy places to eat or just enjoy a coffee, it has many sights and important buildings, of which many houses a museum. It is rich in history, dating the Ancient Rome.
To visit all in the central area, it takes more than just one single day. Accommodations are not expensive (due to the fact is not so famous, like Sintra).
Also, there are the views of the hills, such as the one below:
Monte do Picoto.
My first interaction with Braga, was not to discover the city, but it was shopping at IKEA and movie at the cinema (in English).
Since my first wondering in the city, I kept visiting different parts of Braga, with more still to do.