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Top Tourist Places To Visit in Tuscany

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Braga, located in the North of Portugal, is considered the most religious city in the country with a high concentration of churches and sanctuaries. It used to be one of the most important catholic cities in Europe and is still the see of the Portuguese Archbishop. Today the city is a commercial and business centre with a population of 169000. The city centre is not large and is best explored on foot to discover the beautiful architecture of Baroque buildings and its many churches. There are more than 30 of them in Braga. The most amazing sanctuary is located about 6 km from the city centre and is the sanctuary of Bom Jesus, a monumental baroque staircase rising to the gardens and the church surrounded by oaks and eucalyptus trees. The steps, dotted with chapels, fountains and statues, symbolize the “via cruces”. There is a cable-car the goes up to the top, which is probably the best way to get there opting for the steps on the way down. Other interesting churches are Santa Marta da Falperra and Santa Cruz boasting a fine example of Rococo art. The best time to visit Braga is at Easter time when the population enacts the events of the Holy week including the crucifixion of Christ and his burial. To assist and even taking part to the events is a very picturesque experience not to miss. The town is considered the most conservative, and by some the most pious, by others the most fanatic. The city is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. The city is importance as a religious centre is by no means a recent phenomenon and pilgrims have been journeying here for many centuries. However, in the 12th century, as the seat of the Portuguese archbishops, it became established as the religious capital of the country. This rich historical and cultural past has been lovingly well kept, even to the extent that local laws prevent the construction of high buildings in the certain areas so as to preserve the ancient beauty, also it quickly became a spiritual centre and the home for the Catholic Church. Splendid and architecturally interesting buildings still remain to record this period.


Population : 240.000(est.2008)
Area : 41.3 km2 (15.9 sq mi)

Climate and Geography

The climate of Braga is characterised by winters of high pluviosity and low temperatures and by summers of low humidity and high temperatures. The win blows predominantly from the southwest in the winter and from the east in the summer.

Suitable Visiting Seasons ( months) : Braga is famous for its churches and with 30 of them you could say they are the city’s main attraction. The Cathedral was built in Romanesque style in the 11th century and was enriched with Manueline sculptures in the 14th century. The best monument in Braga is actually 6 km from the city, the Bom Jesus Baroque steps that, dotted with chapels, fountains and statues, symbolize the Fourteen Stations of the Cross. The steps take up to the church set on top of the hill surrounded by gardens dating back to 15th century. Other interesting sites are the Paço Episcopal, formed by three buildings built between the 14th and 17th centuries housing one of the largest libraries in Portugal with 300000 books and 10000 manuscripts, some of which go as far back as the 9th century, the 14th century Torre de Menagem in the city’s square, which is all that remains of the original fortifications and the Senhora de Sameiro, which is the third most visited pilgrim locations in Portugal.

Transportation

By Bus The Bus Station is in Praça da República, daily connections to Coimbra, Porto and Lisbon. Buses to Porto run every 30 minutes and take just over an hour to get there, the journey to Coimbra takes 2 hours and 40 minutes and to Lisbon 5 hours and 30 minutes. By Train Daily connections with Porto (the journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes); daily connections with Lisbon (the journey takes 5 hours and 30 minutes). By Car It takes about 1 hour drive on the motorway from Porto to Braga.


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