Guimarães, cultural city.jpg

Guimarães, cultural city

By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

The ancient medieval city of Guimarães, which will be one of two European Capitals of Culture in 2012, is to benefit from sponsorship for events from Portugal’s tourist board, Turismo de Portugal.

Although the investment has yet to be specified, the year-long event is expected to cost around 111 million euros, 70 million of which will be provided by the municipal authority for infrastructure and 41 million from the Guimarães City Foundation for cultural events.    

The city, known as the cradle of the Portuguese nation, was selected by Brussels in May to be one of two European Capitals of Culture. The other city is Maribor in Slovenia.

The choice of the two cities recommended by a selection panel in April 2008 was made by the European Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions and culture ministers.     

Now Turismo de Portugal, Guimarães Câmara and the Guimarães City Foundation have to decide the best way of showcasing Guimarães, its culture, heritage and monuments and presenting them to the rest of Europe over the next two years.

On December 18, a Financial Cooperation Protocol was signed in the city between the three organisations in the presence of the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Development, José António Vieira da Silva, the Minister of Culture, Gabriela Canavilhas and the Secretary of State for Tourism, Bernardo Trindade.

The strategy is to try to link culture and the arts to the economy through a diverse range of economic activities and the creation of ‘cultural industries’.

Guimarães, and its historic centre, were classified in 2001 as a World Heritage Site. Work is currently underway to restore the old medieval seat of the Dukes of Braganza which is set in a park within the walls of the medieval castle.     

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year during which it is given a chance to showcase its cultural life and cultural development.

A number of European cities have used the City of Culture year to transform their cultural base and, in doing so, the way in which they are viewed internationally.

The two cities chosen for 2013 are Marseille-Provence in France and Kosice in Slovakia, while Vilnius (Lithuania) and Linz (Austria) were the capitals last year. Essen (Germany), Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul (Turkey) are this year’s choice, with Turku (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) selected for 2011.

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