A sanctuary on a hill and surrounded by forests. After an ascent up an incredible baroque staircase, at the top, a white neoclassical church crowning the walk. To that we add the panoramic views of the city of bragaor that the whole set, declared as a World Heritage Site. The Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary in Braga (or Buen Jesus del Monte Sanctuary) is one of the main attractions in Braga, and one of the excursions that are well worth doing from Porto.
In fact there is a very popular excursion from Porto to visit Braga and Guimarães. In the blog there is also a post dedicated to the attractions to see in Guimarães.
Brief history of the Bon Jesus del Monte Sanctuary
Like many sanctuaries, the story begins with a declared sacred and pilgrimage site. It is estimated that this place of worship already had a chapel in the 16th century. Over the years the place evolves and develops as we see it today, after a long process of expansions, reforms and modifications. The current church, which crowns the design of the sanctuary, is from the end of the 19th century, after a new construction was carried out on the previous one.
The baroque stairs
One of the most outstanding elements of this walk are its Baroque-style stairways, with its 600 steps. Although the ascent begins a little further down, with the zigzagging stairs from the access.
The total drop is 116 meters from the entrance to the sanctuary and you can avoid the stairs through an elevator. Although there is no doubt that the most interesting thing is go through all these stairs walking to appreciate the architecture and layout of the place. In fact, it is a walk designed to be done in a relaxed way, there are breaks and shade, except for the final and main stairway, decorated with numerous sculptures.
And throughout the ascent, you will enjoy increasingly panoramic views of the city of Braga.
What does the design of the sanctuary and stairs mean?
I am going to explain some details of the Sanctuary and the stairway. anyway you can book a free tour of the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary . These “free tours” are actually with the cap system, so I always recommend leaving a good tip of at least 10 euros to value the work of the guide.
The design of the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary in Braga, has a format that has later been used in other sanctuaries around the world, such as that of lickalso in Portugal. The entire ascent up the stairs among lush vegetation is a theological story in which there are elements that always have a meaning. The water sources symbolize purification for the pilgrims. The stations represent the scenes of the passion of Christ, an introduction that also culminates at the top of the hill with the church.
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Going through all the stairs will take you on a walk through different stations of the Via Crucis with different chapels that represent very crude scenes through sculptures. Also, there are different sources that represent the senses in relation to the earthly, something that must be left behind to reach the temple on a spiritual plane. Towards the end of the baroque staircase, there are fountains that represent charity, faith and hope. In short, the entire staircase is thought of as a purification process to reach the temple of God.
The church dedicated to the figure of the Good Jesus (Bom Jesus), was built between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, and was one of the first neoclassical churches in Portugal. Inside, the altarpiece with a scene representing the crucifixion is very curious.
How to get to the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga.
The following map shows the location of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus del Monte and the route to take from the Cathedral of Braga, which is in the center of the city. By car it is about 6 kilometers, a distance that you can also do by public bus from the center.
Both by car and by bus, you will arrive at a parking lot in the lower part of the sanctuary. From there you will access the stairs, or the Bom Jesus elevator. This elevator has been in operation for more than a century. And it was quite an advance for its time. It was the first hydraulic lift in the Iberian Peninsula.
The views from the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus.
In the Sanctuary you can visit not only the stairs, church and chapels, but also enjoy the beautiful surrounding gardens.
There are many points that are a viewpoint to the city of Braga, a grotto and a small lagoon in the surroundings of the sanctuary. There are also cafeteria services, souvenir shops and more. Finally, if you travel to Braga you can also do the free city tourand you can always ask me any point in comments that I will answer as soon as possible.
Finally, if you are thinking of a trip to Portugal, I recommend you see the destination guide in portugal and the idea of route through the north of Portugal Leaving from Lisbon.