Braga - Tanque do Quintal do Ídolo/ Fonte do Ídolo

Sanctuary - Roman Period (204)
The Fonte do Ídolo, Quintal do Ídolo, Ídolo dos Granginhos rock sanctuary, or Idro, as it was locally known for, is located at Braga's downtown, in the Rua do Maio street. The large granitic outcrop has a NE - SW orientation and is carved with inscriptions and high relief (embossed?) figurines carved through a rough 3m space, distributed by two big sets. A 5m by 10m reservoir can also be found in this space along with steps carved in the outcrop. The construction of this rock sanctuary can be chronologically framed in the 1st century AD. The first sculpted set is located on the left side of the outcrop and is characterized by the presence of a standing figure wearing a gown/robe but having its face highly eroded. It holds in its hand what has been interpreted as a vase or a cornucopia. This set also displays the following text: [CEL]/ICVS FRONTO/ ARCOBRIGENSiS/ AMBIMOGIDVS/ FECIT. On the right, second set, you can find a 60cm long by 50cm wide aedicula, displaying a bust, with male characteristics, on its inside. This bust is elevated by a pediment (?), decorated with a dove and a hammer. At its base is the water spring that runs by a dug groove towards the outside of the reservoir. This set also displays text associated to this structure: above its frame: CELIUS/FECIT, on the pediment(?); TONGOE/ NABIAGOI, and at the base: FRONT. The archaeological interventions began during the 1930s, which allowed the recovery of large quantities of Roman construction material (clay tiles and imbrex), along with a granite slab with approximately 0.50m tall and 0.15m wide, bearing the inscription NABIAE / RVFINA / VSLM. Archaeologist Carlos Teixeira was led by this discovery, to link this place with the Nabia deity. The surrounding area of Fonte do Ídolo was heavily disturbed during the late 1980s, close to the Hospital in Rua dos Granjinhos, with a wall being identified in one of the cuts (?). Several archaeological works were carried out by the Office for Archaeology of Câmara Municipal de Braga during 1993 and 1994, allowing the identification of Roman plumbing and reservoirs on the northern area of the sanctuary, possibly fed by the Fonte do Ídolo. South of this spot, foundations of a wall were also found having the same chronology. The follow up works carried in 2003 by Francisco Sande Lemos and José Freitas Leite, part of the monument's enhancement program, allowed the discovery of a pavement dated from the Late Antiquity, which was not disturbed(?), as well as a Roman water conduit, fed by the fountain, to the south. Epigraphic, functional, and symbolic interpretations of this space have been quite diversified since its inception. For Sande Lemos, this space can be interpreted as a private sanctum, integrated in a garden space of a dwelling on the outskirts of Bracara Augusta. Manuela Martins considers, however, that the Fonte do Ídolo could be a public monument, built by Celicus Fronto (LEMOS, 2006). Despite the difference of interpretations, agreement is made regarding this space being a sanctuary dedicated to an aquatic divinity.


For the patrimonial sake and for the public, the appropriate climatic conditions and the access to people with disabilities are assured.

Visit conditions

Entrance with admission ticket


Opening hours: From Mondays to Fridays 9h30 - 13h00 14h00 - 17h30 Saturdays 11h00 - 17h30 Close on Sundays and Holidays



    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


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