Estádio Municipal de Braga
|Full name||Estádio Municipal de Braga|
|Owner||Municipality of Braga|
|Field size||105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)|
|Opened||December 30, 2003|
|Construction cost||$83.1 million|
|Architect||Eduardo Souto de Moura|
|Sporting Clube de Braga|
Estádio Municipal de Braga (English: Braga Municipal Stadium) is a football stadium in Braga, Portugal, with an all-seated capacity of 30,286, built in 2003 as the new home for local club Sporting Clube de Braga, and as a UEFA Euro 2004 venue. Its architect was Portuguese Eduardo Souto de Moura. The stadium is also known as A Pedreira (The Quarry), as it is carved into the face of the adjacent Monte Castro quarry.
Sporting Clube de Braga pays a monthly rent of €500 for the use of the stadium. In July 2007, Sporting de Braga announced a three-year sponsorship deal with French insurance company AXA, which included the change of the name by which the club refers to the stadium to Estádio AXA (AXA Stadium). However, the municipality, as landlord, clarified that the stadium had not been officially renamed as this was a deal involving its tenant only.
The stadium was carved from a quarry (Monte Castro) that overlooks the city of Braga. Stands run only along both sides of the pitch. Behind the goal at one end are the rock walls of the quarry and at the other is an open view over the city sprawling in the distance. Each stand is covered with a canopy-style roof, and both are connected to each other across the pitch by dozens of steel strings, a design inspired by ancient South American Inca bridges.
Once inside the stadium, moving from one stand to the other is done through a 5,000 sq.m plaza under the pitch.
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: 65,647) and Estádio José Alvalade (capacity: 50,049), both in Lisbon, and Estádio do Dragão (capacity: 50,399) in Porto.
- 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.
|18 June 2004||Bulgaria||0–2||Denmark||Group C|
|23 June 2004||Netherlands||3–0||Latvia||Group D|
Portugal national football 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|
The stadium is often considered one of the most original and beautiful stadiums in Portugal. The Financial Times, in an article about Britain's stadia, refers to AXA as one of the four examples of "beautiful grounds". It states 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".
In 2006 the stadium won the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for the best new global design.
- "AXA dá nome ao Estádio Municipal de Braga (in Portuguese)" (Press release). Sporting Clube de Braga. 2006-07-09. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- Martins, Carla Sofia (2007-07-13). "Oposição exige rentabilização do Estádio Municipal de Braga" (in Portuguese). Público. pp. Local Porto, p.4. Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
- Kuper, Simon (2007-05-11). "'You've beaten them once. Now do it again...'". Financial Times. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- "2006 International Architecture Awards For The Best New Global Design". Chi-athenaeum.org. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Estádio Municipal de Braga.|
- Braga stadium design page on WorldStadiums.com (with photographs)
- afaconsult: Engineering design firm of the Braga Municipal Stadium
- Stadium Guide Article