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Chapel of the Ascent to the Calvary and Obelisks

Chapel of the Ascent

to the Calvary and Obelisks

The eighth chapel of the Ascent or Way of Calvary, emblazoned in an octave form, already existing in the time of D. Rodrigo de Moura Teles, is outlined on the map of Carlos Amarante, with a figure (twelve images( retouched and reformed by the sculptor Evangelista Vieira, located in the said circular patio to the left of who ascends. Behind the door of entry is the biblical verse: «BAJULANS SIBI CRUCEM, EXIVIT IN CALVARIAE LOCUM», translated into Portuguese by: «Bringing the Cross to Calvary».

The richest element in this scenario is the Cross, the “tree of life,” later becoming a symbol of resurrection.

In this chapel we can get in touch with the message that is inside: “Bom Jesus, bent on the weight of the tree that the Cyrenian helps to take, walks to Calvary. The executioners proceed with all cruelty. One drags him with a rope, attached to the neck, as if of an animal treated. Another threatens him with the spear. A soldier carries in his hand the banner with the initials S.P.Q.R (Senatus Populusque Romanus – the Senate and the Roman People(.

Among the figured, we distinguish: The Lord, Mary Magdalene, the boy with the nails, a woman with her son in her lap, Veronica, Our Lady of Sorrows, Cyreneus and Algozes.

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We leave this spacious courtyard, passing through two pillars (obelisks( in the form of coiled serpents (an animal that prefigures the passage from earth to divine life(, where the head is found at the top where the water gushes and from there snaking. The helical columns have in fact taken the form of two serpents whose heads appear in the upper part, and it is interesting to note that the perpetual movement of water underlines the movement and viscosity of this impure animal. At the base of each obelisk we find four heads of crocodiles indicating the four cardinal points.

From these obelisks there is a very soft staircase divided by several flights and a few dozens of steps, which lead us to the airy and wide ground of wounds, an antechamber of the Escadório of Cinco Sentidos, with parapets and seats, where we find, besides the source of the five wounds, plus two chapels, both of hexagonal plant.

If facing the west, we glimpse the city of Braga, to the east we impose the majestic staircase of the five senses and the three virtues crowned by the Basilica, an ideal place to decipher the Eucharistic chalice through the staircases.

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The Bom Jesus do Monte, an unavoidable reference.