The monumental set off “Bom Jesus do Monte”, like said in some books about Braga, is for sure, the biggest, the most magestic, the most symbolic and poetic sacro-mount built in europe, were religious, baroque, rococo and neoclassical architecture predominates.
Since human presence was felt on “Bom jesus” sacred hill, from the century 14th, the pilgrims presence, move on foot, by the elevator or means of transport, making the baroque architecture on of the biggest sacred routes, for is penitencial value, purification ritual, pilgrimage, popular tradition, leisure and rest.
The period after “Concílio de Trento” made birth the sacro hills scattered across the hills of “piemonte” nad “Lombardia”, where S. Carlos Borromeu influence is striking, great protagonist of counter reform, recognized, in 2003,World heritage humanity by UNESCO: Piemonte (Belmonte, Crea, Domodossola, Griffa, Oropa, Orta e Varallo Sesia); Lombardia (Ossuccio e Varese).
Also the portuguese sacro hills, instruments for the implementation of a systematic catechesis programme, are inspired by the tridentine ordinations and fall, perfectly, on the ideia of pilgrimage, where inspiring elements can not miss: a devotional way along the slopes of a hill, quiet and isolated environment, the presence of structures with a huge monumental quality, like chapels and fountains, wich are covered with scultures and paints of really expressive art,scenes that evate the cross-road and the different moments of Christ’s passion.
The sacred mountain is a complex of religious nature, an captivating and paradisiacal architecture, a place of faith, an artwork in dialog with the view and natural surrounding, with a goal of build a sacred place that can be a alternative to Jerusalém and Palestina, a space where all components gather of «via-crucis»,making it an irradiator center of faith.
Bom jesus soul is reviewed in the built stone, the holy give is hands to the profane, the old live with the contemporary, the Christ’s passion see paredes-meias with the stairway, the nature protection looks for an compatibility with the spiritual, the environmental and the turism.
Bom Jesus, Inescapable reference of baroque art in Portugal, represent’s the coated orginality, providing an authentic visual spectacle. The baroque art, more than a style, is a party time, enchantment, magnificently, eloquent, an scenographic catechetical and dream itinerary, using the senses to the limits.
They date back to the 14th century, with the first human manifestations on the local, the building of a cross nad the construction of a small chapel dedicated to the holy cross. With effect the statute of brotherhood of the church Trindade” of Braga, dated on 1373, already alludes to an chapel from Santa Cruz, which the confreres should go on the romagem, like made their ancestors 40 years ago.
The archbishop D. Rodrigo da Cunha had assigned to archbishop D. Jorge da Costa II the construction, in 1494, of an reduced size chapel. Should be like a second chapel. Three decades later, in 1522, the deão of Braga, D. João da Guarda, in virtue from the previous don ́t hold the devotees, he had to rebuilt it and enlarge it at his expense, in a song that was washed to the taste of the time, a Gothic peninsular, as evidenced by some traces that came to us.
Ran the year of 1629, when a handful of Braga devotees think about the foundation of a confraria, under the invocation of Bom Jesus, to reacthe extinguished devotion to the holy cross. Is from that date that de ocidental hill of Espinho becomes Calvário, leaning on the mountain at east of Braga, and establishes an brotherhood «under the glorious invocation of the same dulcissimo name of Bom Jesus. His confreres with souls of devotees , profits of the dances and footsteps of sacred scripture in the activities that were done in the hands of the blessed sacrament, made barracks and founded little chapels of the footsteps of the most holy passion of Jesus Christ, wich were only very small niches, no more figures fit for the smallness of the same chapels.».
In 1720, D. Rodrigo de Moura Teles «the restorer of Bom Jesus», seeing the regrettabel state that had arrived to the temple most because the almost abandonment caused by the administration of Deão Francisco Pereira da Silva, appoints himself judge of the brotherhood and starts a total reabilitation process of the architecture: a new temple in the pelicano wide, in a elthic shape; Outlined the stairways sarting in the portico ; the chapels of Via-Sacra; the stairways ofCinco Sentidos.
D. Gaspar de Bragança, in1773, as a request from the table of Bom Jesus, got, next to the pope Clemente 14, that that were granted spiritual thanks, with that church use to benefit the pilgrims that visite the sacred places by christian piety. In the same year, the pope sent three briefs, granting to the peregrins and pligrims of Bom Jesus an opportunity for forgiveness, with thaks and clearance.
With an extraordinary affluence of devotees, begging for money and donations, the temple of small size, built in time of D. Rodrigo de Moura Teles, become, now, small, not responding to the high contest of people.
Projected, then, a new comstruction, not only by the exposed reasons, as well beacause of the bad threat existence.
The plan will be assumed by the architect Carlos Amarante, man of trust in the court of archbishop of Braga D. Gaspar de Bragança. The first stone will be placed, on 1 of July 1784, coinciding with a traditional festivity and pilgrimage of the holy spirit.
This sacred lot, an direct influence of the europe sanctuaries, is form for an huge stairway, the stairway is constituent for huge stairs, rising in zigzag, have to several plant-centered chapels, built in different times, where integrate several steps of the sacred life, composed of figures of full shape, some with popular character, fountains with ancestors and allegorical symbols, some courtyards where there are several chapels, stataria, fountains and at the top, the neoclassic church with an plant in latin cross.
Ever since, and in is genesis, Bom Jesus presented himself like a pligrimage shrine, become in
19th century, the biggest pligrimagem center in Portugal. Bom Jesus, the «New Jerusalém», the place of «Cruz» and the Christ passion, is, because of that, an ocean of suggestion for a visit, from the unique heritage of the monumental ensemble to the luxuriant vegetation of the elevation, which houses not only one of the most emblematic portuguese cristological shrines but also one of the masterpieces of the national baroque.