Castle of Braga is a historical fortification and defensive line encircling the city of Braga. While, in fact, the only remains of this structure are the various gates and towers along its perimeter, the main keep tower, located in the civil parish of São João do Souto, is the only true remnant of the medieval castle.
The oldest walls were built during the Roman age in the 2nd century AD. Although reliable information about the evolution of Braga's early defences are lacking, it is known that, from the 11th century, a second wall was under construction, to the south and to the west. The first documented reference to a walled keep occurred in 1161. Around 1210, the walled compound was likely expanded, since documented references referred to road and gate of Souto. It was in 1300, that King Denis ordered the construction of the castle.
The keep (Torre de Menagem) consist of a rectangular footprint and vertical block covered in tile. The facades are built in granite masonry that is slightly staggered closer to the ground. The design is trimmed with chamfered merlons, battlements with gargoyles and machicolations to the corners. It is four stories, or approximately 30 metres in height, with the first floor considerably taller than the remaining: it is about 12 metres tall. This section is marked by grooves where other buildings abutted the structure, some stones with identifiable inscriptions.
Of the walls of the city, only the gate, tower of Santiago, tower of São Sebastião and Porta Nova remain (the latter being completely remodeled in a Rococo style and completely different stylistically).
The demolition of the grounds began in 1858. After the beginning of the 20th century, many other lines of the castle were destroyed. Few remnants of the medieval lines remain today. The ancient wall can be seen in some of the backyards of homes along the Rua do Anjo and Rua de São Marcos. Still further, there still exists the Gate of São Tiago, even if partially altered due to the construction in the second half of the 18th century, through the addition of the Capela da Senhora da Torre. Along Rua de São Marcos, in 1985, one property owner constructed over the foundations of one part of the wall, while in March 1990, there was a collapse of one part of the ancient wall, during the demolition of the old Facho garment factory.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.