One of our cultural visits was to the town of Guimarães, which has been designated the 2012 European Capital of Culture. What does that mean, you may ask? Or at least, I asked. It turns out that "A European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union, for one year, during which public and cultural events are held to showcase the city or region’s identity and cultural dynamics. The purpose of the initiative is to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and the features they share, to promote the sustainable cultural, social and economic development of the cities and communities hosting the event, and to facilitate greater understanding and proximity between European citizens."
As such "In 2012, Guimarães will be hosting a major gathering of creators and creations: music, cinema, photography, fine arts, architecture, literature, thought, theatre, dance, street art. In Guimarães, the artistic products imagined and created by its residents will merge with those coming to the city from all over Europe. Over the course of one year, the city will be the promoter of Europe’s cultural diversity, revealing its creations and welcoming those from other countries."
The city has created a heart-like logo and many businesses and venues customized and displayed it in their windows. Below, some examples I spotted on our walking tour across the city center.