If the endless churches and religious buildings of Braga leave you cold, the monumental Baroque stairway and pilgrim church of Bom Jesus do Monte, sited on a wooded hill 5km to the east, is unlikely to do the same. In the Portuguese way, it’s both pilgrimage and picnic site – you might bring lunch and enjoy the wonderful views from the terrace at the top, while other visitors determinedly shuffle up the 116m-long, ornamental zig-zag, granite staircase – doing it on their knees if they are particularly devout. The site was commissioned by Archbishop Dom Rodrigo de Maura Teles in 1723, although the whole complex – staircase, fountains, chapels and church – took sixty years to complete. There’s a precise symbolism at work, with fountains representing the Five Senses and the Three Virtues, for example, while the chapels are adorned with sculpted scenes from the Passion of Christ. Linking all, meanwhile, are the bright, white, interleaved staircase walls, climbing to the church at the very top whose altar is dedicated to the inevitable Crucifixion of “Good Jesus of the Mount”.

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