Wrocław: 2016 European Capital of Culture

23 Feb 2017

Even as opposing views on politics, monetary policy, immigration, and various contemporary crises challenge the European Union, there’s one thing seemingly everyone can agree on - there’s a wealth of culture and history to be celebrated on the Old Continent. With that in mind, the European Capital of Culture programme was proposed in 1983 by Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri, who wanted a greater emphasis placed on cultural matters in order to build togetherness and a shared identity between EU member states. Two years later, Athens became the first title-holder; since then, each year has seen one or two cities put in the spotlight for twelve months of special cultural events, which help to raise the visibility of often-underrated (or little-known) places, give them a bit of pride and prestige, and effectively bring about urban regeneration. This last point has become one of the most successful and valued aspects of the programme - to the point that the predicted level of improvement is now considered as a main criterion when poring over candidates. Poland has had one Capital of Culture representative already, with Kraków (a rather obvious choice) holding the title in 2000. Now, sixteen years later, it’s Wrocław’s time to shine as the city dives into a year of cultural appreciation and contemplation together with 2016 co-capital San Sebastián, Spain.


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