Here was born the tradition, which goes back to the 19th century, of “seeing Braga by a straw.”
Times and wishes change, but there are places, objects, situations and historical facts that deserve to be remembered from generation to generation. When we think of places, true or imagined, we begin to think of objects that survive in this space, on which we can tell stories, impressions, and personal memories.
One of these objects, which are part of the imagery of the place, is the rehabilitated monocle, charismatic symbol of the resort of Bom Jesus mountain hill, flooded by the green mantle of Espinho mount, with a facade overlooking the rural and urban network, an ideal invitation for observation, encounter, fruition, rest, and a revitalizing retreat of bodies and minds, far from the hustle and bustle of the city of the three sacrum-hills.
The “straw” of Bom Jesus is a postcard, a singular balcony overlooking the infinite blue. Through this window facing the outside, we travel and perceive the relationship with the landscape and the vastness. Behind the contemplation comes
the dazzle with the hills touching the skyline that dates eternity, with the city surrounded by bucolic splendor and a sea of green.
We are aware of the offer of a telescope to Bom Jesus do Monte, somewhere in 1862, placed in a belvedere on the north side of the Adro, near the Hotel do Elevador, facing the city giving rise to the so-called “see Braga by a straw”, immortalized by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro in António Maria Caricatures Album, where the main characters are paraded: Zé Povinho, Pist, Arola and Fagundes. Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro was the personality that impressed this expression more strongly and who contributed more to its dissemination and reach.
The alfacinha, republican, anticlerical, several times set foot on the way, to meet “in loco”, Bom Jesus mountain hill, and the life of Bracaran society, this happened in 1884, to cover the celebrations of 1. Centenary of the launching of the first stone of the temple.
But from the telescope of the 19th century, we can not see its trace. It is due, therefore, to the Lieutenant-Colonel of Infantry Albano Justino Lopes Gonçalves, that after leaving the Presidency of the Chamber of Braga assumed the Presidency of the Confraternity of Bom Jesus mountain hill, the interest for the acquisition of this new telescope of long reach, gifted of unique characteristics and of great technical capacity, as well as a special magnifying lens.
The telescope was acquired in 1924 from the German house Optische Anstalt C. P. Goerz, A.G., Berlin-Friedenau (the report refers to Hamburg), with a 130 mm diameter objective, termed the Terrestrial Observation Telescope. The Goerz laboratory was, at the time, the most specialized in the production of lenses, telescopes and binoculars. The manufacturer’s name, serial number and type of lens are shown, respectively, C.P. Goerz-Berlin, No. 24844, Prismenumkehrsatz, f. 6.40mm, nr. 22066.
With this land-based telescope, sixteen thousand, eight hundred and forty-three escudos and forty-three cents were spent, including customs duties and transportation. Initially, the “straw” was placed in the Orange Half and for every five-minute observation the stranger would spend fifty cents. Given the influx of the public to this infrastructure, the monocle received an iron cover in 1944.
The “straw” maintains the original design, namely the aesthetic appearance, the black and white dirty colors, as well as the original optical functions and all its mechanical structure, tripod, mooring support, housing, eyepiece and objective gear. Currently, this telescope is safeguarded and can be visited at the P. Cândido Pedrosa Exhibition Center. In the exterior location was placed, in 2015, a new telescope, modern and suitable for the function.
As any story has images of support, material entities that take off from things, we also await, from the next, the most beautiful words from the observation of the telescope, this icon of the sacred hill, a unique centennial tourist attraction, to interact and share memories.