Braga a city in the Braga Municipality in northwestern Portugal, is the capital of the Braga District, the oldest archdiocese and the third major city of the country. Braga is the oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the World. With an urban population of 175,063, Braga is the largest city in Portugal after Lisbon and Oporto (including the city and suburban parishes, the municipality had a total of 62 parishes and 181,819 inhabitants as of 2011, is the seventh largest municipality in Portugal by population). Braga is also the center of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Minho with a population of 826,833 (2007) one of the fastest growing urban areas in the European Union.
The region of Braga has been inhabited since pre-historic times, and in the Iron Age the Bracari , a Celtic people, occupied the region and built their characteristic fortified villages (castrum). It was the capital of the Callaici Bracarii, or Bracarenses, a tribe who occupied what is now Galicia and northern Portugal. The Romans began their conquest of the region around 136 BC, and during the times of Emperor Augustus (around the year 20 BC) the city of Bracara Augusta was founded in the context of the administrative needs of the new Roman territory. Bracara was dedicated to the Emperor, hence the name Augusta.
The city of Bracara Augusta developed greatly during the 1st century and reached its maximum extension in the 2nd century. Towards the end of the 3rd century, Emperor Diocletianus promoted the city to the status of capital of the newly-founded province of Gallaecia.