European Capital of Culture 2019

The cities in Italy and Bulgaria – Matera and Plovdiv, respectively - have been selected to host the prestigious title of the European Capital of Culture in 2019.

European Capital of Culture logo
Owned by the European Commission, the logo of one of the most important cultural initiatives in Europe has been proudly displayed in so far 58 cities of the EU member as well as candidate states.

European Capitals of Culture 2019 – Matera and Plovdiv
A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993, the city of Matera, with only 60 thousand inhabitants is not short of historic and cultural treasures. The capital of the Basilicata region in southern Italy, Matera is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world offering unique insight into what a city life looked as far as back in the 10th century.

The major attractions of Matera are the historic Sassi disctricts – Sasso Caveoso e Sasso Barisano – partially carved in to the slopes of a canyon. Do not miss out on the Rupestrian Churches of Matera and the spectacular cathedral from the 13th century.

Bari Airport is the nearest international airport, approx. 40 miles distance from Matera. A larger choice of international routes is offered by Naples Airport, 150 miles away.

Matera shares the privilege of having the international attention with the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.

The second most populous city of Bulgaria, with a population of over 500 thousand, is home to over 200 archaeological sites and monuments, which includes ancient Roman theatres, medieval walls and fortresses, Ottoman mosques and public baths and beautiful examples of the Bulgarian Renaissance architecture.

Plovdiv, known its vibrant cultural life, hosts regularly cultural events and festivals.

The city has its own airport with a limited selection of international routes. The much larger, Bulgaria’s main Sofia Airport is located in a 90 miles distance from Plvodiv.

Previous European Capitals of Culture
Below is the list of all the previous Capitals of Culture:

Year

City

Country

1985

Athens

Greece

1986

Florence

Italy

1987

Amsterdam

Netherlands

1988

Berlin

Germany

1989

Paris

France

1990

Glasgow

United Kingdom

1991

Dublin

Ireland

1992

Madrid

Spain

1993

Antwerp

Belgium

1994

Lisbon

Portugal

1995

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

1996

Copenhagen

Denmark

1997

Thessaloniki

Greece

1998

Stockholm

Sweden

1999

Weimar

Germany

 

 

 

 

2000

Avignon

France

Bergen

Norway

Bologna

Italy

Brussels

Belgium

Helsinki

Finland

Kraków

Poland

Prague

Czech Republic

Reykjaík

Iceland

Santiago de Compostela

Spain

2001

Rotterdam

Netherlands

Porto

Portugal

2002

Bruges

Belgium

Salamance

Spain

2003

Graz

Austria

2004

Genoa

Italy

Lille

France

2005

Cork

Ireland

2006

Patras

Greece

2007

Sibiu

Romania

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

2008

Liverpool

United Kingdom

Stavanger

Norway

2009

Vilnius

Lithuania

Linz

Austria

2010

Essen

Germany

Istanbul

Turkey

Pécs

Hungary

2011

Turku

Finland

Tallinn

Estonia

2012

Guimarães

Portugal

Maribor

Slovenia

2013

Marseille

France

Kosice

Slovakia

2014

Riga

Latvia

Umea

Sweden

2015

Mons

Belgium

Plzen

Czech Republic

2016

San Sebastán

Spain

Wrocław

Poland

2017

Aarhus

Denmark

Paphos

Cyprus

2018

Leeuwarden

Netherlands

Valetta

Malta

European Capital of Culture – 30 years later
The origins of the European Capital of Culture initiative date back to 1985, when the ministers of culture of Greece and France, Melina Mercouri and Jack Lang proposed that every year an European city was given a chance to promote its cultural heritage on an international arena.

The key objectives of the initiative were to showcase the cultural diversity of Europe, to nurture the spirit of belonging to a common cultural area and sharing common values and to highlight the importance of culture in the development of the cities.

Urban revitalisation, the improvement of the profile of the hosting cities on international level as well as among the inhabitants and boosting of the tourism were the major benefits for all of the European capitals, experienced both short and long-term.

30 years of the European Capital of Culture:

The candidates for the title apply 6 years prior the title-year. The applications are assessed by the panel of international experts in the field of culture according to the criteria specified by the European Commission. The candidates are judged based not so much on the historical assets as on the cultural activities planned for a given year. The decision is announced 4 years prior, leaving enough time to prepare and implement the title wining projects.

As it can be seen in the table above, until 1999 the title of the European Capital of Culture was awarded to only one city each year. The ‘Millennium Year’ of 2000 during which the distinction was shared by 9 cities, including ones from the countries who were still only candidate-members, changed that tradition. Nowadays there are two European Capitals of Culture and starting from 2020 this number will be increased to 3.


European Capital of Culture 2019
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