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European Commission – Press release
Wroclaw and San Sebastian: European Capitals of Culture in 2016
Brussels, 31 December 2015
The Polish and the Spanish cities will mark the 31st year of one of the most popular EU projects.
Wroclaw (Poland) and San Sebastian (Spain) are the European Capitals of Culture in 2016. The cultural programme will officially begin on 17 January in Wroclaw in the presence of Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport; and on 23 January in San Sebastian.
Tibor Navracsics said: “Being a European Capital of Culture helps cities create a sense of community and brings long-lasting benefits to their citizens and their economies. I wish Wroclaw and San Sebastian every success as they showcase their cultural programmes in the coming year.”
The opening of Wroclaw 2016 will take place over the weekend of 15-17 January with almost 100 cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions and shows. The main event on Sunday 17 January will see parades setting out from four corners of Wroclaw and converging on the central Rynek marketplace for the grand finale. The parades will be led by artists representing the four Spirits of Wroclaw (the Spirit of Many Faiths, the Spirit of Innovation, the Spirit of Rebuilding and the Spirit of Flood), stopping along the way to recount the city’s rich history. More than 2,000 artists, singers and musicians will take part.
The motto of Wroclaw 2016 is Spaces of Beauty. This is based on the ideas of metamorphosis and diversity, drawing on the city’s unique history of transformation. Hundreds of inhabitants of Wroclaw will perform in major public events in 2016. Citizens were invited to run part of the programme through a “microgrant scheme”. During the year, the city will also become UNESCO World Book Capital, with a special edition of the European Literature Night. The programme also includes the International Jazz Day, the Singing Europe Festival and the International Theatre Olympics.
European Capitals of Culture are one of the most recognised EU projects. They were launched in 1985 on the initiative of the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri.
For more information
Wroclaw 2016 – European Capital of Culture