Raio Palace

Braga, Portugal

The Palace of Raio (Palácio do Raio) is a Baroque era residence in Braga. It is an example of the late Baroque, early Rococo style of decoration by Portuguese architect André Soares, notable for his influence in the northern Baroque movement.

The construction of this ornate palace was ordered by João Duarte de Faria, a knight of the Order of Christ, who was a rich merchant. In 1760, the staircase was painted. A century later, the residence was acquired by Miguel José Raio, then Viscount of São Lázaro (in 1867), thus, over time, becoming known as the Palace of Raio.

The palace is a two-storey buildings, consisting of several three-doors on the main floor, flanked by ornate framed windows, and the second-floor consisting of several windows and balconies. The roof is topped by a veranda of balusters, with ornate vegetal pinnacles.

Over the main portal, deeply indented, is a sumptuous balcony of balusters, flanked by two decorative sculptures. The lintel over this second-floor balcony is monolithic. Its cornice, which is exceptionally recessed, and crowned by a balustrade consisting of six flaming sculptures, while four blazing amphorae on its flanks over an Ionic pilasters frame.

The main floor is embellished by frames of carved granite, and the outline of the wrought iron balconies. Apart from the main entrance, are two lateral doorways (all of which are painted in complementary blue). While the facade is covered in azulejo tile (and installed in the 19th century), the whole building is built from fine-grained granite. On the landing, the azulejos were likely executed by Bartolomeu Antunes, owing to the different interpretations of the Rococo: one more traditional, from a workshop in Lisbon; and another, which predominates a northern agitation, from Braga.

This residence is considered one of the most important public works of André Soares, presenting a facade that is profusely decorated, where the general symmetry contrasts with the asymmetries introduced by the windows. This is particularly true of the central section.



Your name


Founded: 1754
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Portugal

More Information



4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

jjpea (2 months ago)
Really cool experience, lots to learn about the area and buildings. There is a lift/elevator. The staff will have to walk you through the office areas to get to the lift. They drop you off on the top floor and will meet you in the same room where you started to bring you back down. Some places online say it's free, but there is a small fee. No photos allowed. ?‍♂️
Alexandre Alves (2 months ago)
The Raiu Palace (also called the Mexican House) was built during the reign of King Joao V, 1774-1755, and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Braga. The palace construction project was developed by the architect Andre Soares, already known in Braga for his artistic projects, by order of the influential and wealthy businessman Juan Duarte de Faria, who was also a knight of the Order of Christ. Presumably in 1867, the palace was sold to the entrepreneur Miguel Jose Rai, and after a while the Palace became known as the Raiu Palace. Later, the building passed to the Order of Mercy, which housed the separate rooms of the Hospital of St. Mark in the palace. As for the architectural features, the palace is made in the late Baroque style. The Baroque style is mainly reflected in the structure of the building, and the building is decorated in the Rococo style. The facade of the two-story palace, with the exception of the window decoration, is decorated with the famous azulejo tiles. The roof of the palace is decorated with a balustrade with pointed turrets. On the ground floor, in addition to the main entrance, there are two more side doors painted blue to match the facade of the building. On the second floor, the balcony, which is located directly above the main entrance, is also decorated with a balustrade and two decorative sculptures. The flank windows on this floor are less sophisticated than the center windows. Particular attention is drawn inside the main staircase with three flights, decorated with a sculpture of a Turk. Raiu Palace is one of the most visited places in the city of Braga, and since 1956 has been included in the list of monuments. which are of public interest
Ryza Chi (3 months ago)
Great host. We had a few issues and she was very understanding. Apartment is super clean, all amenities and very close to town and shops. Highly recommended
Marco Simone Zuppone (4 months ago)
Nice to visit. Very interesting. I'd reccomend buying the combo ticket to visit the castle
Dickie Larue (10 months ago)
The building is certainly beautiful...However it lacks the punch of other museum's in the area...There is only so much artifacts with the Church that people can stomach...The local art exhibit was thinking outside the box...Resident Cowboy and supporter of the economy of Portugal since 2016...
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped theater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and left in ruins by the Heruli in 267 AD.

The audience stands and the orchestra (stage) were restored using Pentelic marble in the 1950s. Since then it has been the main venue of the Athens Festival, which runs from May through October each year, featuring a variety of acclaimed Greek as well as International performances.