Devotion and Pilgrimage
Places of Worship
Places of worship, in particular pilgrimage sites, were often built within impressive rural landscapes or against memorable urban backdrops.
Places of worship, in particular pilgrimage sites, were often built within impressive rural landscapes or against memorable urban backdrops. The most widespread was the concept of the “Sacro Monte” or holy mountain, the origin of which relates to the beginning of re-Catholicisation. This is why hills were such popular cult locations for pagans. Sites and monuments played an important role in re-Catholicisation, with religious columns, chapels and sculptures of the saints employed to motivate people in their acts of worship. One of the most popular saints of the period was John of Nepomuk, which goes some way to explain why so many bridges were built to link these sites within the landscape.
Bom Jesus de Braga Sanctuary

Founded in the 15th century; Baroque works carried out 1723–1811
Braga, Portugal
Architects (attributed): Manuel Pinto de Vila Lobos (?–1734), André Soares (1720–1769), Carlos Amarante (1748–1815); master masons: António Ferreira Lopes ; woodcarvers: Elias Gomes dos Santos, João Bernardo da Silva, João Álvares Bezerra, João Martins Coelho; sculptors: António de Campos Peixoto, António José Pereira, António Monteiro, António Pinto, Domingos António, Domingos Ferreira, Evangelista Vieira, Félix António and others; painters: Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho, and others whose dates are unknown
The large stairway endowed with chapels, statues and allegorical fountains leading up to the pilgrimage sanctuary represents the typology of the Sacro Monte.