Braga's Raio Palace, or Palácio do Raio, was built in the 1750s as the private home of João Duarte de Faria. Although Faria had made considerable wealth as a merchant, he was also a knight of the Military Order of Christ - better known as the Knights Templar.
The Raio Palace was constructed in the late Baroque style by André Soares, an architect who had already made a name for himself as a leading champion of the northern baroque school. His other works within the city include the town hall, Church of Congregados, and Arco da Porta Nova ornamental city gateway.
The majority of the two-storey Raio Palace's façade is covered in traditional blue and white azulejo tiling. This creates a striking effect when put against the elegant sandstone carved features typical of baroque architecture. Inside, the central staircase is particularly celebrated for its own tile-work. It leads to ten rooms that house the collection of the Holy House of Mercy (Santa Casa da Misericórdia). It covers some 500 years of the city's history with a range of interesting artefacts.