European Capitals of Culture 2011
Estonia's Tallinn and Finland's Turku take the torch
[caption id="attachment_156" align="alignleft" width="300"] Tallin, capital city of Estonia[/caption]
Each year, the Council of the European Union designates one or more cities to become the European Capitals of Europe during one calendar year in which they organize a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension. They provide living proof of the richness and diversity of European cultures. The initiative started in 1985 and has become one of the most prestigious and high-profile cultural events in Europe. Since the date, more than 40 cities have been designated European Capitals of Culture so far, from Stockholm to Genoa, Athens to Glasgow, and Cracow to Porto.
A city is not chosen as Europen Capital of Culture solely for what it is, but mainly for what it plans to do for a year that has to be exceptional. Its program has to fulfill some specific criteria, like highlight the richness of cultural diversity in Europe or bring the common aspects of European cultures to the fore.
Turku and Tallin were chosen in 2007 in accordance with Decision on European Capitals of Culture 2005 and on the
[caption id="attachment_157" align="alignright" width="300"] A view of Turku, former capital city of Finland[/caption]
basis of the program they submitted. The procedure for choosing a city starts around six years in advance - though the the order of Member States entitled to host the event is fixed before then and is organized in two stages. It involves a panel of independent experts in the cultural field responsible for assessing the proposals. Once designated, the preparations of the European Capitals of Culture are monitored.
Numerous cultural domains are being brought into the spotlight, like performing arts, audio-visual arts, literature, interdisciplinary, sports, folk culture, art, design and music. A lot of events are taking, and will take, place every month, like the Estonian music days in March, the International Children Literature Day in April, the European Athletics Junior Championships in July, or the festival "Turku on fire," in reference to the many fires which have ravaged Finland's former capital over the course of its history.
Thanks to: Europost