Braga is the oldest city in Portugal, with a history going back to pre-Roman times. It’s not exactly where you’d expect to find a modern art sculpture in the middle of the city. Yet, there it is. The Monumento ao Santo Papa João Paulo II was created by Portuguese sculptor Zulmiro de Carvalho and architect Domingos Tavares to commemorate the Pope’s 1982 visit to Braga.
The shape of the monument is reminiscent of the mitre, the tall pointed ceremonial hat worn by the Pope. According to one website, the three points of the sculpture represent the three great mountain top sanctuaries of Braga- Bom Jesus do Monte, Santuário do Sameiro and Igreja de Santa Maria Madalena.
The sculpture is a beautiful monument to the Pope’s historic visit, and one of the many monuments celebrating Braga’s reputation as the religious heart of Portugal.