Inside the town, interest focuses on the Sé (cathedral), which was built in the 12th century by Henri de Bourgogne and Dona Teresa. After he died, she was chased out of town because of an illicit love affair, but in death Henri and Teresa were reunited in their tombs in the Chapel of Kings.
The Sé has undergone decorative and architectural changes. The north triple-arched facade is austere and dominating, with a large stone-laced Roman arch flanked by two smaller Gothic ones. What appear to be the skeletons of cupolas top the facade's dual bell towers, which flank a lofty rooftop niche containing a larger-than-life statue of the Virgin and Child. Under a carved baldachin in the apse is a statue of Our Lady of the Milk -- that is, the Virgin breast-feeding the infant Jesus. The statue is in the Manueline (heavily ornamental) style but is somehow pious and restrained.
Inside you might think you've entered one of the darkest citadels of Christendom. If you can see them, the decorations, including a pair of huge 18th-century gilded organs, are profuse. In the 1330 Capela da Glória is the sarcophagus of Archbishop Dom Gonçalo Pereira, with an unctuous expression on his face. It was carved by order of the prelate.
You can visit the Treasury of the Cathedral and the Museum of Sacred Art, an upstairs repository of Braga's most precious works of art. On display are elaborately carved choir stalls from the 18th century, embroidered vestments from the 16th to the 18th centuries, a 14th-century statue of the Virgin, and a Gothic chalice from the same period. An 18th-century silver-and-gilt monstrance adorned with diamonds is by Dom Gaspar de Bragança. In the cloister is a Pietà.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2010