[Dec. 2021] During the tour to Braga, a town in northern Portugal, we visited a pilgrimage site called the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary next.
It is located on the top of Mount Espinho and was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not so long ago in 2019.
There are four hotels around here for pilgrims.
The church was completed in 1811 and is characterised by its theatre-like structure.
For example, the main altar.
It is a rare thing that Roman soldiers are scattered around the statue of Christ on the cross.
When we went outside, I saw a pilgrim kneeling near the front entrance.
According to the guidebook, the view of the setting sun from here is wonderful.
But the highlight here is not the church or the sunset, but the stairs.
Our tour started from the church at the top, and after listening to the explanation, we went down the stairs by ourselves, so I witnessed its beauty when I looked back up at the stairs from the round landing which was the meeting place.
The zigzag staircase with grey borders on the white walls matches well with the church at the top.
Along the way, there are a few shrines with very vivid statues of Christ carrying the cross to the place of execution.
Also there are some fountains where water spouted from the eyes, nose, mouth and so on to represent the five senses of a person.
Next to this staircase is a lovely hydraulically powered cable car.
When we came down to the landing, stood in the centre and looked up at the stairs, we were told that the statues in the middle seemed to overlap, and it looked like a chalice.
In addition, there are snake-shaped fountains on both sides of the stairs.
In Christianity, the snake means temptation, but the snake here is said to have been made so that those who have climbed up to this point can drink water.
The beautiful part of the stairs is up from this circular landing, but the stairs continue further down, and apparently there are 585 steps in total.
Later, on a minibus, we passed the beginning of the stairs.
By the way, there is a statue of a Roman knight near where you start going down the stairs, and according to the guide Claudia, if you make five laps around this statue, you will meet someone for life.
However, it is only for women, and it is important to go around without speaking a word.
Claudia said, “It’s difficult for us Portuguese to be silent, though.”
I was a little surprised because I thought the Portuguese were much quieter than the Spaniards and Italians.