When you design a stadium that is to be built by carving it out of a quarry you know that the result should be pretty spectacular. Sporting_Clube_BragaThat is certainly the case for the Estádio Municipal de Braga home of Portuguese side S.C.Braga. Built as a venue for Euro 2004 the stadium holds just over 30,000 people. Fans are housed in only two stands that both run parallel to the pitch (according to the original architect this is how football should be watched). Behind one goal is an open view of the city of Braga but it is at the other end that the unique nature of this stadium really kicks in. A huge rock face looms over one of the goal mouths, providing fans with one of the most fantastic views in all of football.

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There is actually a ‘roof’ on the stadium (not that you see it when watching on TV). Hundreds of steel cables criss-cross over the stands to provide a canopy that was apparently inspired by South American Inca bridges.

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Admittedly the idea of only having two stands might not be for everyone but you cannot deny just how different this stadium is compared to the hundreds of ‘identikit’ grounds you find all over the world. It has won several major awards for its design and S.C.Brage have, on the whole, enjoyed a successful spell at the Estádio Municipal.

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