Viana do Castelo and Guarda city councils are both vying for European candidacies to help to raise the profiles of their cities.
The Viana do Castelo City Council announced on 7 October that it had formalised the candidacy of the capital of Alto Minho for the European City of Sport in 2022.
In a statement, the municipality explained that “the intention of candidacy was expressed in a meeting between the mayor, José Maria Costa, the councillor of Sport, Vítor Lemos, and the president of ACES PORTUGAL - Portuguese Association of European Cities of Sport, Nuno Santos.
“Viana do Castelo assumes itself as a healthy city, friendly to sport and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The county presents itself as a privileged place for the practice of diverse modalities, from nature sport, to water sports and ‘indoor’ sport,” says the municipality in the press release.
In January 2019, during the III Sports Gala of Viana do Castelo, the municipality “honoured 162 athletes who, in 2017, won the first place on the podium in national, European or world level, in dozens of modalities”.
In the note, the municipality also underlines the “strong bet” on the Sea Centre project that aims “the development of recreational boating and water sports and the strengthening of Viana do Castelo’s position as a maritime city”.
“The Centre of the Sea is thus constituted as an aggregating pole of nautical tourism, through the articulation in network of a set of activities that include the construction and repair of pleasure craft, the expansion and qualification of nautical facilities, the nautical tourism and the valorisation of a set of patrimonial and environmental elements, enhancing the creation of new related activities and new competences, namely in the nautical services area”, he adds.
That led to the construction of the “Rowing, Sailing, Canoeing and Surfing High Performance Centre (CAR), where the Nautical Schools project is promoted daily, through which thousands of students from Viana get in contact with the river, sea and water sports”.
In the current school year, that project, which covers the 2nd and 3rd cycles, reaches 1,909 students from 99 classes of 9 schools in the county.
In addition to boating in schools, the Viana do Castelo Chamber also involves “thousands” of students in three other educational projects related to sport: preschool skating, with 320 students from 18 classes from 15 schools, swimming, promoted together from primary school students, which reaches 1,529 students from 80 classes out of a total of 36 schools, and athletics with 1,116 students.
A day later, on 8 October the Guarda City Council also announced that it will release the city’s candidacy for the 2027 European Capital of Culture in Paris, from Friday to Sunday, as part of its participation in the Montmartre Harvest Festival.
“As the diaspora is the main theme of this application, participation in one of the most important events in the French capital, where one of the largest Portuguese communities abroad is resident, deserves the utmost relevance,” said the municipality in a statement sent to Lusa agency.
According to the note, the European Capital of Culture candidacy of Guarda will be presented on Saturday (12 October), in a session / debate to be held at the ‘Auditorium de l’Hôtel de Ville Paris’, from 10am to 12pm (local time), by Councilman of the culture Victor Amaral.
At the same session, the Executive Coordinator of the Geopark Star Association, Emanuel de Castro, will present the Geopark Star project, whose application was recently approved by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the 4th World Geopark Council Session.
According to the note, the opening session of the initiative will be attended by the mayor of Guarda, Carlos Chaves Monteiro, the councilman with the responsibility of European Affairs in the City of Paris, Hermano Sanches Ruivo, and the Ambassador of Portugal in France, Jorge Torres-Pereira.
Following the initiative, there is a tasting of endogenous products from the Guarda region, such as bread, sausages, wine and Serra da Estrela cheese, among others.
“The participation of Guarda in this initiative aims to promote a partnership with the ‘Mairie’ [Chamber] of Paris and other local authorities in the framework of the application for European Capital of Culture,” according to the statement.
The Grape Harvest Festival will take place next to the Sacré Coeur - Montmartre Basilica in Paris, and the participation of the municipality of Guarda is made in partnership with the municipality of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo.
Guarda’s entourage will also participate on Saturday afternoon in the Lusofonia Gala 2019, which will mention the city’s candidacy for the European Capital of Culture.
According to the source, Gaurda’s application is “regional and cross-border”, involving 17 municipalities of the Beiras and Serra da Estrela Intermunicipal Community, the Douro, the Association of Historic Villages and Schist Villages, as well as municipalities and institutions of Spain.
The European Parliament approved on 13 June 2017 the list of Member States that will host the European capitals of culture from 2020 to 2033, which foresees that a Portuguese city will be capital in 2027, along with a Latvian locality.