The Municipal Stadium of Braga (Portuguese: Estádio Municipal de Braga) is an all-seater football stadium located in Braga, Portugal, and the current home of Sporting Clube de Braga. It has a capacity of 30,286 spectators, making it the seventh largest football stadium in Portugal. The stadium was designed by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura who was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in part for this design.
|Full name||Estádio Municipal de Braga|
|Owner||Câmara Municipal de Braga|
|Field size||105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)|
|Opened||30 December 2003|
|Construction cost||€83.1 million|
|Architect||Eduardo Souto de Moura|
|Structural engineer||AFA Associates|
|Main contractors||Tensoteci, Soares da Costa, ASSOC, ACE, DMI, Rodrigues Gomes & Associados, AFA Associados, Cêgê, Gerisco, RWDI|
|Sporting Clube de Braga (2003–present)|
Portugal national football team (selected matches)
Also known as A Pedreira (The Quarry), for being carved into the side of a mountain, the stadium was built in 2003 as a venue for the UEFA Euro 2004.
The project to build a stadium was developed in 2000 by architect Eduardo Souto Moura. On 5 June, the program to build the new municipal stadium for the European championships in 2004 began, promoted by the municipal council of Braga. Between 2002 and 2003, the municipal stadium was built. The enormous rock moving process contributed heavily to the final €83.1 million cost, the fourth most expensive of the ten new stadia built for Euro 2004, after Estádio da Luz (capacity: 64,642) and Estádio José Alvalade (capacity: 50,095), both in Lisbon, and Estádio do Dragão (capacity: 50,033) in Porto. A football game between Sporting Braga and Celta Vigo inaugurated the opening of the stadium on 30 December 2003.
The stadium became a UEFA-approved site to host the UEFA Europa League final, as well as participation in the elite competition for Europe's top clubs, the UEFA Champions League. During the UEFA European Championship in 2004, it was the site of various matches including: the 13th game, between Group C teams Bulgaria and Denmark (18 June 2004) and the 23rd match between Group D teams Netherlands and Latvia (22 June 2004). This match marked the stadium's last event during the UEFA championship in 2004, even as in October of the same year, the public work along the Avenida do Estádio was concluded.
On 27 January 2005, a dispatch was opened by the president of the IPPAR to classify the stadium as a national patrimony. In the same year, Eduardo Souto Moura received the Secil Prize from Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, for his work on the municipal stadium. It was followed six years later by the Pritzker Prize. In 2006 the stadium won the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for the best new global design. A Financial Times article on Britain's stadia referred to the municipal stadium as one of the four examples of "beautiful grounds", noting that: "There has been nothing in this country to match the architectural delight of Eduardo Souto de Moura’s stadium for Braga in Portugal, a breathtaking arena carved into the side of a rock face on the site of a former quarry."
As the principal tenant, Sporting Braga paid monthly rent of €500 for the use of the stadium. In July 2007, Sporting Braga announced a three-year sponsorship deal with French insurance company AXA, which included a promotional change to the name of the municipal stadium by the club. Following this agreement, promoters and team officials began to refer to the municipal stadium of Braga as the Estádio AXA (AXA Stadium). However, the municipality (as landlord) clarified that the stadium had not been officially renamed, as this was a deal between its tenant and its partner. On 23 October 2009, the process to classify the stadium ran out, under terms of article 78 (decree 309/2009), but was prorogued on 23 October.
The stadium is situated in an isolated, urban area on the north flank of Monte do Castro, in the sporting park of Dume. The stadium was carved from the Monte do Castro quarry that overlooked Braga; stands were constructed on either side of the pitch, while one of the goal backdrops was carved from the rock walls of the quarry. The opposite goal backdrop is dominated by the city sprawl. Each stand is covered with a canopy-style roof and connected by dozens of steel strings, a design inspired by ancient South American Incan bridges. Movement between stands is accomplished through a 5,000 square metres (0.0050 km2) plaza under the pitch.
- The stadium plaza held the Minho Campus Party, a LAN party, in 2004.
- The Corrs performed at the stadium in 2004 on their Borrowed Heaven Tour.
- The outskirts of the stadium annually host the "Enterro da Gata", a university festival that celebrates the end of the school year with multiple concerts and festivities, organized by the University of Minho.
- 2004 European Championship
|18 June 2004||Bulgaria||0–2||Denmark||Group C|
|23 June 2004||Netherlands||3–0||Latvia||Group D|
- Portugal National Team
The following national team matches were held in the stadium.
|1.||31 March 2004||1–2||Italy||Friendly|
|2.||15 October 2008||0–0||Albania||2010 World Cup qualification|
|3.||11 September 2012||3–0||Azerbaijan||2014 World Cup qualification|
|4.||8 October 2015||1–0||Denmark||Euro 2016 qualifying|
|5.||28 May 2018||2–2||Tunisia||Friendly|
- "Estádio Municipal de Braga". SC Braga. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
- Gonçalves, Joaquim; Basto, Sónia (2011), SIPA (ed.), Estádio Municipal de Braga (IPA.00022707/ PT010303100243) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 2 March 2016
- 2006 International Architecture Awards for the Best New Global Design, Chi-athenaeum.org, 2006, archived from the original on 8 October 2009, retrieved 30 December 2009
- Kuper, Simon (11 May 2007), You've beaten them once. Now do it again..., Financial Times, retrieved 16 July 2010
- "AXA dá nome ao Estádio Municipal de Braga (in Portuguese)" (Press release) (in Portuguese). Sporting Clube de Braga. 9 July 2006. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
- Martins, Carla Sofia (13 July 2007). "Local Porto: Oposição exige rentabilização do Estádio Municipal de Braga" (in Portuguese). Público. p. 4. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
- Fernandes, José Manuel da Cruz (2009), Projectos do século 21 : reflexos da arquitectura portuguesa na década actual (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: CEFA/CIAUD
- Moura, Eduardo Souto; Figueira, Jorge (2005), 2004 Estádio Municipal de Braga (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal