Pilgrimage site with a monumental, Baroque stairway climbing 116 metres up to the impressive church. The truly devoted climb the last section on their knees!
The Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte is located in Tenões, just outside Braga. It is apparently Portugal's most photographed church and there are a host of reasons for this.
Perhaps the most obvious is the incredible Baroque stairway that leads up to the hilltop church. The hill is 116 metres (381 feet) high and there are in the region of 580 steps which zig-zag to the top. Work began in the early 1720s and to call it a stairway is not really doing it justice. As the stairs ascend the mount there are a number of landings, on each of these are grottoes, fountains, allegorical statues and friezes depicting the live of Christ.
The sanctuary is a popular catholic pilgrimage site and the truly devoted will climb the stairs on their knees! For the less devoted (or mobile) there is a hydraulic funicular lift from the base of the hill directly to the church. There have been several churches on this hilltop site over the centuries, but the current church was built between 1784 and 1834. It was commissioned by archbishop Gaspar de Bragança and designed by Carlos Amarante. It is one of the earliest examples of neoclassical design in Portugal.
The vista from the top of the hill alone is worth the climb with views out over Braga and beyond.