Guimarães: European Capital of Culture in 2012

Guimarães: European Capital of Culture in 2012
E. Dambekalne
26-01-2012 A+ A-
On January 21, in one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2012 Guimarães, Portugal, the official opening of this year’s programme took place. Guimarães is considered the birthplace of modern Portugal. Alfonso I (Dom Alfonso Henriques), the first king of Portugal, was born here. He was also the one who declared Guimarães the capital city. A mixture of history, modern architecture and the inevitable impressions of contemporary everyday life can be felt on every corner of the city.

Throughout the opening day there was a large variety of events: exhibition openings, concerts in the old town squares, open national TV studio, broadcasting news directly from the European Capital of Culture, a helicopter circled above the old town, filming all the events that were broadcasted on screens in the city, giving visitors a comprehensive sense being present. The participation of the citizens could be seen through the creative hand-made Guimarães 2012 logos that could be found on every corner.

The official Guimarães opening ceremony, which took place on January 21 at 18:00, consisted of three parts. The President of Portugal, the Prime Minister and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso addressed the audience, followed by Fundação orquestra Estudio with Stravinsky’s Firebird and Holi Braga Santos’ Staccato Brilhante conducted by Rui Massena. The third part of the opening ceremony was a performance uniting moods and visions of the city by using a mixture of the traditional, classical and modern. A dance group showed scenes from the history of Guimarães using the language of contemporary dance. The Brazilian singer Chico César also congratulated the city in this celebratory event. He was joined by Portuguese Cristina Branco, who performed together with Portuguese guitar virtuoso very typical for this country. In conclusion, there was a rather modern feeling when, in the presence of different population groups, the objectives of Guimarães 2012 were explained while emphasising the common slogan “You’re a part of it.”

At the evening of the opening day, there was a multimedia performance in the city’s central square (the . Foundation Riga 2014 wishes Guimarães a successful and eventful year! Guimarães was visited by D.C. and E.D.

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