Has any of you ever wandered how Portugal was founded as a nation and an independent country?
Well, I am not going to bother you with historical details now (and I want to leave you all curious enough to visit my lovely town).
However, I can tell you that it all started in Guimarães back in the 12th Century with our very first king Afonso Henriques which was born there.
We know that everyone in Portugal is aware of this historical fact.
But we also know that not a lot of people from abroad knows this.
On the other hand, one thing most of you do know is that Guimarães is one of the awarded cities as World Cultural Heritage by Unesco since 2001.
Such an award is certainly a reward for all the long and patient work in recovery and preservation of the city’s historic buildings and monuments.
It doesn’t come without a huge challenge however.
There’s still work to be done.
There always will be, let’s face it.
But the outcome is already most rewarding and uplifting.
Whenever we come across a tourist (and the number of tourists visiting Guimarães is increasing by the day), we often realize they become (almost) literally hipnotized by the beauty of the historic centre.
It’s indeed very common to see tourists that stop and stare the monuments, that comment with great excitement that they feel like they are “starring a medieval movie”.
One can only feel proud in face of such comments.
And one can only fell a motivation boost to keep promoting our heritage, our history, our cultural traditions as widely as possible.
But there’s more to Guimarães than just its role in Portugal’s history.
The cultural traditions are an important heritage as well.
And they are engraved in the soul of every citizen from toddlers age.
There’s one thing however that nobody tells you about Guimarães.
Something that makes this town so unique.
And that’s the citizens of Guimarães (in portuguese, Vimaranenses).
Their passion for their hometown.
Their pride in its historic heritage, in what this heritage stands for within the history of the country.
Their wholehearted engagement to its cultural legacy.
It’s very often to see articles shared in social media describing how the citizens of Guimarães share this common sense of belonging.
But more suprisingly, it is also very usual to see this newborn feeling within foreign citizens who stay in town for long periods, say an Erasmus University exchange programme for instance.
Well, I am no exception there. I also love my hometown.
I am part of it, and you can be part of it too.
“You are part of it”( in portuguese “Tu fazes parte”). This is the slogan used in 2012 when Guimarães was the European Capital of Culture.
Couldn’t make any more sense than it still does.
I am most honoured to share my love for my hometown.
Knowing that there is still so much to do but also aware of how much has been accomplished already, I believe we are in the right path.
Furthermore, the Guimarães citizens’ pride in their heritage is what makes this city so unique!
So one of a kind!