The inaugural ceremonies of the European Capital of Culture year will be held at the beginning of January 2010. The prestigious title of European Capital of Culture is exceptionally being held by three cities - German Essen together with the Ruhr Region, Hungarian Pecs and as a symbol of opening the initiative to non-EU states, Turkish Istanbul. We invite you to visit websites of the European Capitals of Culture 2010.
ESSEN AND THE RUHR REGION
Essen is a major industrial center of the Ruhr area, which was included in the celebration of the European Capital of Culture 2010. Essen cultural program focuses on three guiding themes: mythology, metropolises and Europe. By using various means of artistic expression, taking the Ruhr mythology as a starting point, the authors want to show the history of the changes that have occurred in this region and led to the creation of the European metropolis. The moment of transformation and creation will be especially outlined in the program. The very idea of Ruhr 2010 refers also to the history of the European Union, which origins date back to signing the agreement on European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)by countries located mainly in the Ruhr area. Natural resources in the regions were a driving force for economic and industrial development of Europe.
“The borderless city" - this is how the authors of the programme of the European Capital of Culture 2010 define Pécs. This term refers to the ethnic structure of the city which for centuries has served as a meeting place of diverse East and West cultures. At the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Pécs was occupied by the Turks, who introduced fundamental changes in the city. Therefore, nowadays traces of Turkish culture are still visible in the city. Many famous artists such as Victor Vasarely, whose works are displayed in the form of permanent exhibitions, lived and worked in this academic town. Historic sites and buildings including early Roman burial chambers and early Christian cemetery which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list make this city, located in Transdanubian region so attractive. Surroundings of Pécs offer also many attractions to visitors and create a unique, regional climate; among them cave Abaliget or lakes in Orfű. The cultural, artistic and intellectual heritage of the city, the traditions of its ethnic minorities and its geographical location and environment make Pécs one of the most exciting cities of Hungary.
Istanbul is the first city in the history of European Capitals of Culture located so far in the East. This creates a unique opportunity for a dialogue between East and West. This dialogue is symbolized by the Istanbul bridges, which link Europe with Asia. The programme refers to the Four Elements: water, fire, air and earth. Thales, Anaximenes and Anaximander - three philosophers who contributed to the foundations of Western philosophy inhibited the territory of a present-day Turkey. They all tried to understand the universe through the Four Elements. The aim of the programme is also to draw attention to the modernization, which took place in Istanbul, and at the same time preserved the rich, local traditions.