The 21st Guimarães Jazz Festival will be held from November 10-19, 2012. This year it will be special not just for turning 21 but also because the city of Guimarães is this year’s European Capital of Culture along with Maribor in Slovenia.
The annual jazz festival is held in the Centro Cultural Vila Flor and is highly regarded, seen as a place for uncovering new talent and new directions in music. In 2011 headliners included Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band, Steve Swallow Quintet, McCoy Tyner and Marshall Sola New Decaband, and this year promises to be equally strong. The final lineup is not yet confirmed but check online closer to the time.
Even if you’re not a jazz fan, Guimarães is worth a visit and is known as the cradle of Portugal. It was in this town that the country was born: in the 12th century independence was fought for and won here and a new nation was forged. The first king of Portugal, Alfonso I, is said to have been born here and many of the Dukes of Braganza, the royal family of Portugal.
The center of town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and there are two magnificent castles: Castelo de Guimarães, a 10th century fortress, and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, dating from the 15th century.