Bom Jesus do Monte is a Portuguese sanctuary in Tenões, outside the city of Braga, in northern Portugal. Its name means Good Jesus of the Mount.
The Sanctuary is a notable example of pilgrimage site with a monumental, Baroque stairway that climbs 116 metres (381 feet). It is an important tourist attraction of Braga.
Many hilltops in Portugal and other parts of Europe have been sites of religious devotion since antiquity, and it is possible that the Bom Jesus hill was one of these. However, the first indication of a chapel over the hill dates from 1373. This chapel - dedicated to the Holy Cross - was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1629 a pilgrimage church was built dedicated to the Bom Jesus (Good Jesus), with six chapels dedicated to the Passion of Christ.
The present Sanctuary started being built in 1722, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Braga, Rodrigo de Moura Telles. His coat of arms is seen over the gateway, in the beginning of the stairway. Under his direction the first stairway row, with chapels dedicated to the Via Crucis, were completed. Each chapel is decorated with terra cotta sculptures depicting the Passion of Christ. He also sponsored the next segment of stairways, which has a zigzag shape and is dedicated to the Five Senses. Each sense (Sight, Smell, Hearing, Touch, Taste) is represented by a different fountain. At the end of this stairway, a Baroque church was built around 1725 by architect Manuel Pinto Vilalobos.
A stairway, staircase, stairwell, flight of stairs, or simply stairs is a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, called steps. Stairs may be straight, round, or may consist of two or more straight pieces connected at angles.
Special types of stairs include escalators and ladders. Some alternatives to stairs are elevators (UK: lifts), stairlifts and inclined moving walkways as well as stationary inclined sidewalks (UK: pavements).
A church building, often simply called a church, is a building used for religious activities particularly worship services. The term in its architectural sense is most often used by Christians to refer to their religious buildings but can be used by other religions. In traditional Christian architecture, the church is often arranged in the shape of a cross. When viewed from plan view the longest part of a cross is represented by the aisle and the junction of the cross is located at the altar area. Towers or domes are often added with the intention of directing the eye of the viewer towards the heavens and inspiring church visitors. Modern church buildings have a variety of architectural styles and layouts; many buildings that were designed for other purposes have now been converted for church use; and, similarly, many original church buildings have been put to other uses.