To go to the sanctuary we can use three routes: the road; the staircase, symbol of ascension, transcendence to the divine, sacred route of the Way of the Cross; and the elevator. On the flanks of the picturesque mountain, where the painful steps of passion are arranged in the poem of the sacrifice of Christ, stands the famous lift of the Bom Jesus, which rises a 116 feet over a plane inclined 267 meters.
Operated by the Confraternity of Bom Jesus montain hill, it connects the lower part of the mountain to the Sanctuary, following a path parallel to that of the staircase, ending at the highest part with the equestrian of São Longuinhos state.
Being the first funicular built in the Iberian Peninsula, it is currently the oldest, in service, in the world to use the water balance system.
This initiative is due to one of the most important benefactors of this beautiful place, to the entrepreneurial and bairrista spirit of Manuel Joaquim Gomes, a businessman from Braga, a man who in the 19th century was able to understand what true progress was, employing his intelligence in creation of jobs.
The lift was built to replace the American Railroad Car Company, which originally extended to the sanctuary and required reinforced animal traction on steep ascents on more affluent days.
The project was written by the Swiss engineer Nikolaus Riggenbach who, from his country sent all the necessary indications for the execution and installation of the equipment.
The work began in March 1880, with the technical collaboration of the Portuguese engineer of French descent, Raul Mesnier du Ponsard, who supervised the work there.
On March 25, 1882 is also in the annals of Bom Jesus, because it is associated with the inauguration of the elevator, a copy classified as a Property of Public Interest and that serves as an icon of Portuguese engineering in the 19th century.