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Introduction: Braga
 


^ Bom Jesus Sanctuary overlooks the city of Braga from the Sameiro Hill.

In Portugal, if you want to describe something ancient, you would say it was "as old as the Sé [Cathedral] de Braga". That one phrase says a lot about the city. 

Firstly, it is one of the oldest cities in the whole Iberian peninsula, and secondly, it has always been inextricably linked with religion. Indeed, Braga was already a major religious and commercial node long before the formation of Portugal. 

Named Bracara Augusta when it was designated as the regional capital of the Roman empire, this oldest of Portuguese cities has been undergoing a long-term process of 

modernisation over the last two centuries.

Indeed, a recent survey showed that, thanks to the influx of over 10,000 students attending the University of Minho, Braga now has the youngest population of any city in Europe. 

Ancient and modern live in harmony in the city, with its wealth of ageing monasteries and churches rubbing up alongside the city's newfound reputation for information technology - it has been nicknamed the 'Portuguese Silicon Valley'. 

As one of the host cities for UEFA EURO 2004, Braga will be taking the opportunity to put its name back on the map of Europe again.

 

Stadium: Estádio Municipal de Braga
 


^ The stadium is carved into the mountainside.

Capacity 30,000
Entity
Braga Town Hall
Architect
Souto Moura


The architecture of this stadium is particularly striking. Nestling in the hillside of Monte Castro on the outskirts of Braga, it is located at one of the highest points in the city facing the River Cávado valley. 

The stadium is brand new and all seats are covered. There are only two stands on the sides, while the hillside forms a rocky amphitheatre at each end. 

In addition to the originality of the 

contours of this 30,000-seat stadium with only two stands, there is also its innovative roof. The original idea was for it to be similar to the canopy of the Portugal Pavilion in Parque das Nações, Lisbon, covering the whole stadium. However, the architect was eventually inspired by "the bridges built by the Incas" in Peru, as the pitch had to have natural light to preserve the quality of the grass. 

The specifications of the design submitted to the client, Braga Municipal Council, read as follows: "Today, football is a show, just like the cinema, theatre or television. This is why we have chosen to build only two stands." 

Described as a "work of art" by Ernie Walker, chairman of UEFA's Stadium and Security Committee, the new Estádio Municipal de Braga is an extraordinary feat of engineering in one of the most original scenarios in the world. Its construction has attracted the interest of specialists from all over the globe. The tournament director, António Laranjo, is another great admirer of the design. "It is a jewel," he said. "It is not just a football stadium, it is absolutely unparalleled”. 

Estádio Municipal de Braga was inaugurated on 30 December 2003, with a match between SC Braga and Spanish side RC Celta de Vigo, which the local team won 1-0. The 30,000-strong crowd was also treated to a multimedia show to celebrate the completion of all ten EURO 2004 stadiums.

 

 

 

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Luz
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Bessa

 

 « Climate »

Average highest temperature in June: 24.5ºC

 

 « Fixtures »

C Bulgaria v Denmark
   1800 CET 18 June 2004
C Netherlands v Latvia
   2045 CET 23 June 2004

 

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