Braga Cathedral

The Cathedral of Braga ( Portuguese: Sé de Braga) is one of the most important monuments of the city of Braga in northern Portugal. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Braga, the oldest cathedral in Portugal and is due to its history and its artistic significance to the most important monuments of the country. It offers a rich mix of architectural and artistic styles.


According to tradition, the diocese of Braga dates back to the 3rd century, however, the historical confirmation goes back to the year 400. It is thus one of the oldest dioceses in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a center of Christianization of Gallaecia, as the area was designated in northwestern Spain and northern Portugal. As the power of Rome was dissolved by invading Germanic tribes, Braga was from 409-584 capital of the kingdom of the Suevi. Due to the influence of Bishop Martin of Dumio the Suevi converted to 550 to Catholicism. Martin of Dumio had come to this post and Gallaecia had initially founded in Dumio near Braga a monastery, was Bishop of Dumio 556 and finally 562 Bishop of Braga. However, the Suebenreich got into Visigoth dependence and 585 was incorporated into the Visigothic kingdom. In the following years the importance of Braga took off. After the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors 711-719 Braga lost 716 his bishopric. As a result of the Reconquista, the reconquest by the Christians, the diocese of Braga was set up in 1070 again. Bishop Dom Pedro, who was from 1071-1091 bishop of the diocese and the first Archbishop, had a cathedral building, which was consecrated in 1089 by Bernard of Toledo. At this time, however, only the Ostkapellen were done. The present cathedral was built on the site of an older religious building, possibly an earlier cathedral. Despite the restoration of the diocese of Braga did not succeed the city, zuerlangen their previous significance. In addition to Toledo, which was declared by Pope Urban II to the new metropolitan and was from 1087 the residence of the Kingdom of Castile and Spain until 1561 capital remained was for Braga as a metropolis no place. As Bishop Dom Pedro also in 1091 the pallium from the antipope Clement III. could give, the former capital of Braga lost a further significance. Bishop Dom Pedro was deposed and banished to the monastery.

Since 1093 the County of Portugal by Count Henry of Burgundy was ruled that managed to convince the Pope together with Bishop Geraldo de Moissac, 1107 to raise Braga back to the archbishopric. The construction of the cathedral was resumed and continued lasted until the middle of the 13th century. Built in the 12th century building was built in the style of Burgundian Romanesque abbey church of Cluny and influenced the construction of many churches and monasteries in Portugal. In the following centuries the cathedral was changed often. It has therefore today on a mixture of different architectural styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Manueline.

Architecture and Art


The Cathedral of Braga consists of three naves with a wooden roof, a transept and five chapels in the apse, of which no longer appears in the original Romanesque style. Only a small chapel outside the cathedral has preserved its Romanesque appearance and appears as a remnant of the building from the 11th century.

The exterior of the cathedral with the two towers on the front page is very characteristic of the great Romanesque cathedrals in Portugal, although significant changes were made in the course of centuries. The originally Romanesque west facade of the cathedral was completely changed with the exception of some Archivolte and capitals of the main entrance and adorned with carved reliefs. Between 1486 and 1501 a gallery was built with three arches in the late Gothic style in front of the main entrance. This has ribbed vault and is decorated with statues and gargoyles. Beginning of the 16th century changed the Archbishop Diogo de Sousa ( 1505-1532 ), the Romanesque main portal and sacrificed the inner Archivolte. An inset of him iron grating, which should protect the sanctuary, was moved in the 18th century in the gallery. He also had the great chapel of the apse rebuilt in 1509. The large, stone-carved coat of arms of Archbishop Dom Rodrigo de Moura Teles (1704-1728) was placed on the front and the oratory and the cover of the towers were built in the early 18th century. The upper part of the facade and the towers were completely modernized in the 18th century. The southern facade of the Cathedral has a Romanesque portal.


The interior of the cathedral with its nave and two aisles, the transept and the five chapels works exceptionally strict. During the Baroque period, large windows were installed, the altars were changed and the walls were decorated with stucco and paintings. Thus, the cathedral, which gave rise to a festival hall and an appeal to the senses. None of the chapels is still Romanesque. The main chapel is Manueline, while the other chapels were decorated in baroque style.

The nave has today, however, primarily reflects a Romanesque appearance, as most changes in the past few centuries undone after a reform in the 20th century and the medieval look of the church was restored. In addition to the choir but all have chapels carried out in the 18th century changes to the architecture and the altarpieces maintained. As archaeological remains from the early Christian and late medieval church show the original choir was much smaller.

The cathedral has two historic organs. In the epistle is an instrument of the free Simón Fontane organ builders from 1739 .. From the same organ builder comes the Gospels organ from 1737. The instrument has two manual divisions. The pedal is attached.


  • Alfons Becker, Pope Urban II (1088-1099), Vol.1 of origin and ecclesiastical career, The Pope and the Latin Christendom, ( = headings of the MGH, Vol 19 / I), Stuttgart 1964 and Alfons Becker, Pope Urban II. (1088-1099), Vol 2 the Pope, the Greek Christendom and the Crusade, ( = headings of the MGH Vol 19/II ), Stuttgart 1988.
  • Robert Plotz (ed.): James cult in the Rhineland. 2004, ISBN 3-8233-6038-8.