Strolling through “Praça da Republica” and “Parque / Jardim da Avenida Central” in Braga, Portugal, we find the complex known as the “Convento dos Congregados” and the “Igreja dos Congregados”.
The Convent was built in the late seventeenth century, of Baroque and Rococo styles. During the 18th century the complex was enlarged with the construction of the Basilica, whose facade is the work of the architect André Ribeiro Soares da Silva. André Soares is responsible for various designs in many temples in Braga. The Galician Master Paulo Vidal carried out the works of the facade, although the works on the towers remained unfinished and it was not until 1964 that they were completed.
After having fulfilled different functions over the years, which includes having been occupied as a library and other government agencies, the former Convent and Cloister is currently occupied by the Music Department of the University of Minho.
The church has a ceiling decorated in Rococo plasterwork and a Baroque altarpiece in honor of “Nuestra Senhora de los Dolores”. The temple is of rectangular plant of a single nave with three vertical levels separated by Corinthian pilasters and two horizontal bodies separated by broken cornices. Large windows are found on the sides of the central body. Under the window there are four chapels on each side dedicated to San Bento, Maria Magdalena, San José and the Sacred Heart on one side, while on the other dedicated to San Antonio, San Amaro, Santa Ana and Nuestra Señora de los Dolores.
The main Chapel has the walls and ceiling covered with colored stuccos of vegetal motives. It is framed within a large arch supported by the Corinthian pilasters and on each side two niches with the statues of Abraham, David, Issac and Jacob. The main altarpiece was made of gilded and polychrome wood. It also has marble imitations of green, blue and pink.