Wednesday 17 July 2019

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga

This site was inscribed this year and I couldn't be happier. Besides being a beautiful place it is located in the district where I'm from and I've been there several times.

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte is a Portuguese sanctuary in Tenões, outside the city of Braga, in northern Portugal. Its name means Good Jesus of the Mount.
The present Sanctuary started being built in 1722, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Braga, Rodrigo de Moura Telles. His coat of arms is seen over the gateway, in the beginning of the stairway. Under his direction the first stairway row, 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 zigzag shape and is dedicated to the Five Senses. Each sense (Sight, Smell, Hearing, Touch, Taste) is represented by a different fountain. At the end of this stairway, a Baroque church was built around 1725 by architect Manuel Pinto Vilalobos.

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte
This postcard was sent by Martinha

The works on the first chapels, stairways and church proceeded through the 18th century. In an area behind the church (the Terreiro dos Evangelistas), three octagonal chapels were built in the 1760s with statues depicting episodes that occur after the Crucifixion, like the meeting of Jesus with Mary Magdalene. The exterior design of the beautiful chapels is attributed to renowned Braga architect André Soares. Around these chapels there are four Baroque fountains with statues of the Evangelists, also dating from the 1760s.

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte

Around 1781, archbishop Gaspar de Bragança decided to complete the ensemble by adding a third segment of stairways and a new church. The third stairway also follows a zigzag pattern and is dedicated to the Three Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity, each with its fountain. The old church was demolished and a new one was built following a Neoclassic design by architect Carlos Amarante. This new church, began in 1784, had its interior decorated in the beginning of the 19th century and was consecrated in 1834. The main altarpiece is dedicated to the Crucifixion.

Park of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte

In the 19th century, the area around the church and stairway was expropriated and turned into a park.

Park of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte

In 1882, to facilitate the access to the Sanctuary, the water balance Bom Jesus 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. 

Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular

The Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular (PortugueseElevador do Bom Jesus do Monte), is a Portuguese funicular transport in civil parish of Nogueiró e Tenões, in the municipality of Braga, in the district of the same name. Operated by the Irmandade de Bom Jesus do Monte the funicular connects the upper-town of Braga with the Shrine on which it gets its name, over a distance that parallels the Escadaria de Bom Jesus (Bom Jesus staircase) to the highest point at the statue of Saint Longinus.
Construction on the tramway system began in April 1880, designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, under the direction of Swiss engineer Nikolaus Riggenbach, and financed by Bracarense businessman Manuel Joaquim Gomes, the principal shareholder of the Companhia de Carris of Braga. - in: wikipedia

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