Nossa Senhora da Consolação e dos Santos Passos Church, Guimarães, Portugal
CC BY-SA 4.0
Guimarães is an average size city but with a booming cultural life. Besides its museums, monuments, cultural associations, art galeries and popular festivities, it has since September 2005, an important cultural space, the Vila Flor Cultural Center. This cultural center has two auditoria, exhibition center and a concert-cafe. Guimarães was the European Capital of Culture in 2012, together with Maribor.
Guimarães was elected by the New York Times one of the 41 places to go in 2011 and NYT called it one of the Iberian peninsula's emerging cultural spots.
Joanina fair in Guimarães, where old activities are recreated such as the production of meat "cake"
The fact that since its beginning, Guimarães had a feminine monastery made much influence over its regional gastronomy, specially its confectionery. "Tortas de Guimarães" and "Toucinho do céu" (normally translated as bacon from heaven) are a good example. Besides the customary Minho gastronomy, the so-called "meat" cake is made here, which is a kind of bread in a pizza shape served with pig, sardines or other toppings.
Traditions and festivities
- "Festas Gualterianas" in honor of Saint Gualter, take place since 1906 in the first weekend of August. The "Cortejo do Linho" (Linen parade) and the "Batalha das Flores" (Battle of the Flowers) are part of the festivities which are ended by the "Marcha Gualteriana" (Gualteriana march).
- "Nicolinas" are the festivities of the students of Guimarães, celebrated in honor of Saint Nicholas. The festivities start on 29 November and finish 7 December. They are composed of different celebrations; the "Pinheiro" is most widely attended. After a restaurant dinner, the participants parade the streets of Guimarães playing the "Toques Nicolinos" tune on drums. Latelly, it has been suggested that the "Nicolinas" should be a contender to be UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
- The Santa Luzia festivities in honor of honor Saint Lucy take place annually on 13 December, near to the chapel of Santa Luzia. The selling of traditional cakes made of rye and sugar, which are called "Sardão" and "Passarinha" (these names have sexual connotations in Portuguese). According to the tradition, a boy should offer a "Sardão", which has a phallic form, to the girl and if the girl was interested in dating the boy, she should reply with a "Passarinha".
- The "Big Romaria of São Torcato" is one of the biggest romarias in Minho, takes place annually in July in the village of São Torcato.
Museums, cultural spaces and art galleries
Centro Cultural Vila Flor
CC BY-SA 2.5
The city of Guimarães has several cultural spaces of reference at a regional and national level. Among the several museums of the city, the Alberto Sampaio museum is the one that stands out. Founded in 1928, it opened its doors to the public in 1931; it is located in the old site of the Canon the Collegiate of Our Lady of Oliveira (Cabido da Colegiada de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira in Portuguese). It contains a rich collection of pieces from the 14th, 15th and 16th century, including one rare vest that was used by the king John I.
The Martins Sarmento Society (Sociedade Martins Sarmento in Portuguese) is one of the country oldest institutions dedicated to the study and preservation of archaeological artifacts. The society owns two museums: the Archaeological Museum of the Martins Sarmento Society, which is known by its prehistory and protohistory collections and also its numismatics and epigraphy collections; and the Castro Culture Museum which is dedicated to the Castro culture.
There is also: the Primitive Modern Arts Museum, located in the Domus Municipalis (the old city hall), which contains a collection of naïve art; the Museum of the Village of São Torcato, which is dedicated to the region and its relationship with the monastery and Saint Torcato (São Torcato in Portuguese); the Agriculture Museum of Fermentões, which exhibits collections of the traditional agricultural practices of the region; and the Museum of São Sebastião, inaugurated on 24 March 1984, which contains mainly sacred art.
Other cultural venues include:
- Vila Flor Cultural Center (Centro Cultural Vila Flor in Portuguese) is the main cultural venue in Guimarães. It was built in 2005, in a recovery of the old Vila Flor Palace and its surrounding area. It has two auditoriums, a concert-cafe and an exhibition gallery. The surrounding gardens of the old palace were also redone and in 2006, received an honorable mention in the Public Exterior Spaces category in the National Landscape Architecture Award.
- São Mamede - Guimarães Arts and Shows Center.
- Raul Brandão Municipal Library has its headquarters in the city and also has branches in Pevidém, Caldas das Taipas and Ronfe. It offers its mobile library services to 42 parishes and services the city schools and prison.
- The Art Laboratory (Laboratorio das Artes in Portuguese) was founded in 2004 by ESAP students. It is a cultural space for exhibitions, performances, music and art workshops.
- Alfredo Pimenta National Archive, founded in 1931, contains the archives for municipality of Guimarães and also the Braga district.
Guimarães has a major sports club, Vitória Sport Clube, whose football team has been the city's representative in the Primeira Liga for many years. Vitória SC also has basketball and volleyball squads competing in the top divisions of their sports.