Portugal’s Guimaraes – a mix of many worlds

Having been back from this adventure, I feel like I have to write about this small city located a little bit further up north of Porto. The city called Guimaraes which captured my attention because of the unusual mix of architecture that appeared on its’ streets.

It all started when I was offered an opportunity to participate in one of the Erasmus projects that was held in this very city. This project type was a blended mobility and the subject we were working on was connected to financial literacy. I absolutely adored the whole idea of gathering a group of young people interested in finances and presenting an opportunity to exchange ideas and start thinking a little bit more about this curtail topic.  My career choice is architecture, but I am also interested in finances and investing so I felt like this was the perfect project for me! But little did I know that, besides the appealing project topic, I would be ever so fascinated by the town where we were staying…

Ah, the numerous buildings with really different designs simply tugged at my architectural heart strings and I simply could not keep away from the town streets. It was an occurrence that I can’t explain – I felt like I was looking at a collage of different cities. Analyzing every brick and peeking behind every street corner, I felt like I had a quick trip through the whole of Europe!

First, the plazas with their many old churches and the castle on the hill reminded me of the bigger European cities like Ljubljana and Vienna. Then I discovered the small stone streets with small, modest houses and this sight took me back to the towns of my own country- towns like Ohrid and Struga. Upon further investigation I came across houses that reminded me of the houses in my birth city and capital of Macedonia – Skopje. Houses that appeared during the beginning of the modern architecture in the city.

As I started to question whether or not it was just nostalgia playing with my mind, I stumbled upon a particular style of buildings that I have never seen before – buildings completely covered in ceramic tiles. In Spain I have seen facades that are decorated with a small number of tiles, but I have never seen a whole building covered in them. And they looked incredibly beautiful and I felt as if I discovered the heart of Portugal in them. This town kept surprising me with every step…

Ah, an interesting experience indeed… I could only recommend a visit to this hidden town whose architectural landscape threw a visual curveball at me. It might just be the results of the over-analytical way that I look at simple buildings, but at least I was inspired enough to write this text.