As with other squares of the same name, Praça da República (Republic Square) continues the Portuguese tradition of being one of the most important public spaces in Braga. Located on the western side of the city's historic centre, it comes alive each day from mid-morning to late into the evening. During this time, it is filled with locals who come to enjoy a bite to eat in the cafes and restaurants that line the square, including Café Vianna and Café Astória, which have both been serving customers for around 150 years. Others simply come in the expectation of bumping into friends and family.
Sometimes also known as Arcada, or "the Arcade", Praça da República has existed since the Middle Ages. Many of the structures which surround it testify to this fact, including the Basilica dos Congregados and the defensive walls of the Torre de Menagem, once part of the now-lost Braga castle.
Traffic-free and with a background hum of flowing water from the dramatic central fountains, Praça da República becomes even more atmospheric as night falls. This is when paving lights flicker on and form a colourful contribution to the already buzzing atmosphere.