What Are We Going To Find in Oporto, Portugal?

Oporto, Portugal

Looking out at the orange rooftops of Portugal………….from the Explorer……..

Oporto, Portugal

This is the second part of our stop in Oporto, Portugal and if you’ve been following us, you know we have been moving right along to get everything in, before our ship pulls out of the port! Where are we headed after doing the gauntlet run in Guimarães? The bus takes us from Guimarães to the outskirts of Braga, where we find ourselves in a big forest……..

What have we here? We must take a little cable car up, up, up through the woods or walk up a bazillion stairs to get to our next destination…… Bom Jesus de Monte.  Look at the sign and decide which you would prefer to take……………..the funicular, or climb the 381 foot marble and Baroque staircase…………that zigs and zags to make it more of a challenge………..

Oporto, Portugal

Many hills in Portugal and other places in Europe have been sites of religious devotion and Bom Jesus de Monte, is one of those. The higher the hill, the closer to God you are, as the saying goes.  The first chapel on the hill was built in 1373 and dedicated to the Holy Cross. In 1629, a pilgrimage church was built dedicated to the Bom Jesus (Good Jesus) with six chapels dedicated to the Passion of Christ.  The present Sanctuary started being built in 1722, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Braga. Under his direction the first stairway row, flanked with chapels dedicated to the “Via Crucis”, were completed.  Each chapel is decorated with terra cotta sculptures depicting the Passion of Christ.  He also sponsored the next segment of stairways, which has a zig-zag shape and is dedicated to the Five Senses. Each sense (Sight, Smell, Hearing, Touch and Taste) is represented by a different fountain. At the end of the stairway, a Baroque  church was built around 1725 by architect, Manuel Pinto Vilalobos.

Around 1781, archbishop, Gaspar de Bragança, decided to complete the hill by adding a third segment of stairways and a new church. The third stairway also follows a zig-zag pattern and is dedicated to the Three Theological Virtues, (Faith, Hope and Charity) each with it’s own fountain.  This new twin-towered church, began in 1784. 

In the 19th century, the area around the church and stairway was turned into a park. In 1882, to facilitate the access to the Sanctuary, the  water-balanced funicular was built linking the city of Braga to the hill. This was the first funicular to be built in the Iberian Peninsula and is still in use! I am so glad, since I will be taking the funicular up, but I must say there are the faithful, who climb this stairway on their knees! So let’s get on up there!

Coming from the funicular and our last bit of forest……………

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom de Jesus, Braga, Portugal

We see the church……..

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

Looking down the hill are beautifully landscaped gardens………….

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

And you can get a feel for high up you are………

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

where smaller sanctuaries can be found……….

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

A quiet walk to reflect………

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

and then visit the gift shop……..

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

There are retreat areas here as well………….

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

Then down to see the lower steps and side chapels………….

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

Layer upon layer of stairways, statues, and chapels………. see the funicular?

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

And the view……..

Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal
Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

Time to leave this beautiful sanctuary……. where are we going next? To a beautiful garden at the base of the hill………….

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

past the flowers and the signs to the portico………..

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal
Abadia d ‘Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

past the hotel……..

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

and the fruit trees……

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

and palm trees…….

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

and our greeter………

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

and the pool………..

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

to join our fellow travelers………

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

to dine……….at the Abadia d’Este Restaurant……………

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

and wine…….. before moving on to our third stop of the day!

Abadia d’Este Restaurant, Near Braga, Portugal

Oh my, we’ve had a big day so far, and we have yet another stop! We’ve seen the castles and the churches, wined and dined………….

Won’t you join me to see what’s next? See you there!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.