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Marseille and Košice: the two 2013’s European capitals of culture

After Stockholm, Genoa, Glasgow, Krakow or Porto, Marseille and Košice were selected to represent culture in Europe for the year 2013!

Since 1985, more than 40 cities have already carried the title of European Capital of Culture, a more and more prestigious label that grant to the chosen cities a unique opportunity to be seen around the world, to boost it’s tourism, it’s cultural life and it’s international visibility.

But if cities are selected for what they are, the assessment also depends on what they plan on doing during an entire year; and there are a lot of expectations!

Indeed, according to the Commission’s official text, the aim is to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures, to celebrate the cultural ties that link Europeans together, to bring people from different European countries into contact with each other’s culture and promote mutual understanding, to foster a feeling of European citizenship. A task that will be difficult but useful in this year of crisis.

After the evaluation, by a group of independent experts from the cultural world, of every proposition, it is the Council of Ministers of the European Union, the only institution able to assign the famous title, that will select the two laureates. Located on the outskirts of Europe and close to the borders of the Schengen area, Marseille and Košice were selected for this year.

Thanks to their similarities, the oldest city of France founded in 600 B.-C. by Greek sailors and the Slovak royal city, which was the first town to be awarded a coat of arms, managed to organize together the year 2013 and started their cultural program on January 12th and 19th .

Along with the “Coalition 2013 +” Association, created in August 2010 to support the project, the new mayor of Košice, Richard Raši, rapidly started his work: the PENTA POLITANA project was set to restore cooperation between five towns of Eastern Slovakia and the “linkingKošice” project launched the famous European ‘white nights’…

Concerning Marseille, nearly 130 people worked in the “Marseille-Provence 2013” Association, in order to mark lastingly the territory: new places dedicated to culture, creation and meetings were opened, such as the MuCEM, the Mediterranean Villa, the new FRAC, or even the “Regards de Provence” Museum…

Therefore, the informal conversation between Melina Mercouri and Jack Lang, the earlier Greek and French ministers of culture, while waiting for their plane in Athens’ airport almost 25 years ago, has borne fruit.

Established by a European Council’s decision, the list of the next capitals of culture is already set until 2016: Umea (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) were selected for 2014, Mons (Belgium) and Plzeň (Czech Republic) for 2015 and Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain) and Wrocław (Poland) for 2016.

To visit the capitals of culture 2013’s website


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