Община Варна - култура и изкуство
Bulgaria’s European Capital of Culture
In 2019, a Bulgarian city and a Italian city will be the European Capitals of Culture. The designation procedures are described in Decision No 1622 of 24 October 2006 by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

The applications are assessed by a special commission of 13 members. Seven of them are from European institutions and six are appointed by the applicant-country.


Candidature of Varna for European Capital of Culture


It was launched on 13 June 1985 by the Greek minister of culture, the famous actress and singer, Melina Mercouri. Initially, the initiative was called European City of Culture in a special motion of the Council of Ministers of the Union.

The official document stated that the European City of Culture was to present a culture which in its historical roots and contemporary development was characterized both by common elements and a heritage which had been due to differences.

In 1990 the ministers of culture made yet another very important step which expended the initiative. They passed a resolution, proclaiming that after the rotation of all twelve member-states in 1996, countries which were not EU members should be given the opportunity to apply for the initiative. In 1999 the name was changed to European Capital of Culture. There was a change in the selection rules too. The heaviest duty falls on the selection committee. It consists of seven leading independent persons who are culture experts and six other persons from the candidate country.

The resolution, stating the chosen city, has to specify how the nominated city intends to showcase the aesthetic movements and styles shared by the Europeans which this city inspired or significantly contributed to. An important asset is the way the city argues in favour of its ability to encourage events which include people from other cities in the member- states, and to promote their movement in the European Union. The European institutions also require that support should be given to creative activities which are an essential element of any cultural policy.
The host-city should provide the participation of a wide range of social circles and guarantee the initiative’s stability after the events. Promoting a positive image of the EU among citizens and disseminating the different events through the latest communication technologies is another basic requirement. The event-organizers are to stimulate the dialogue between the European cultures and other world cultures, and, thus improve the openness for understanding otherness, which is a basic cultural value. Another group of requirements are related to the usage of the historic heritage, the city’s architecture and raising the standard of living in the city. Therefore, the host-city is to organize a programme of cultural events which should highlight its own culture and cultural heritage, and the one of the district.
A resolution of 24 October 2006 by the European Parliament and Council cites the name of Bulgaria for the first time as a host of the European Capital of Culture initiative in 2019 besides Italy.

The following European Capitals of Culture have been selected up to now:

• 1985 – Athens
• 1986 – Florence
• 1987 – Amsterdam
• 1988 – Berlin
• 1989 – Paris
• 1990 – Glasgow
• 1991 – Dublin
• 1992 – Madrid
• 1993 – Antwerp
• 1994 – Lisbon
• 1995 – Luxemburg
• 1996 – Copenhagen
• 1997 – Thessaloniki
• 1998 – Stockholm
• 1999 – Weimar
• 2000 - Avignon, Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Krakow, Prague, Reykjavík, Santiago de
Compostela, Helsinki
• 2001 – Ротердам и Порто Rotterdam and Porto
• 2002 – Bruges and Salamanca
• 2003 – Graz
• 2004 – Genoa and Lille
• 2005 – Cork
• 2006 – Patras
• 2007 – Luxembourg and Sibiu
• 2008 – Liverpool and Stavanger
• 2009 – Linz and Vilnius
• 2010 – Essen, Istanbul and Pecs
• 2011 – Turku and Tallinn
• 2012 – Guimaraes and Maribor
• 2013 – Marseille and Kosice
• 2014 – Umea and Riga
• 2015 – Mons and Pilsen


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