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Braga

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Originally founded by the Romans, 2,000-year-old Braga later became the first Christian settlement in Portugal. Today, it’s a lively university town with a thriving nightlife and a compact yet beautiful Baroque heart.

Most of ancient Braga’s main attractions are centered on the arcaded Praça da Republica, strewn with fairy tale churches and focused on the lovely Arcada fountain. The centerpiece of all this architectural majesty is Portugal’s oldest cathedral, built in the 11th century and now showing off a variety of styles from Romanesque to Baroque. Amid the gilded choir stalls and Baroque flourishes, the King’s Chapel houses the tomb of Henry of Burgundy, the father of Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques. Along with the tranquil Garden of Santa Barbara, a cluster of historic buildings surround the cathedral, including the church of Santa Cruz and its Mannerist splendor; the serene late-Renaissance Museu dos Biscaínhos.

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