With three cultural capitals in Southeast Europe, 2023 will be the year of the cultural capital. The trio was formed from Timisoara in western Romania, the starting point of the 1989 revolution that toppled dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Veszprém near Lake Balaton in Hungary, and the Greek city of Eleusis, famous in ancient times for its secrets.
In the industrial city of Timişoara of 300,000 at the border triangle of Romania, Hungary and Serbia, makers want to make the traditional variety shine. In addition to the Romanians, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Serbs, Gypsies, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians lived and still live in the city with imperial taste.
Like Timişoara, Veszprém, with a population of 60,000, is hoping for a new impetus for tourism as a cultural capital. “Capital of culture means finding cultural answers to the challenges of the times,” said Mayor Gyula Borja. As a problem he called the emigration of young people and the volatile added value of the tourism magnet Lake Balaton, which is limited to a few summer months. With culture, on the other hand, you can make yourself attractive all year round.
“Mysteries of Transition” is the motto of the Athenian suburb of Eleusis. Cultural Director Mikhael Marmarinos promises an “unprecedented format for the European Capital of Culture institution”. Eleusis, which today has a population of 30,000, has long been associated with the Greek capital, some 20 kilometers to the east – and has always been in its shadow. Efforts are now being made to liberate oneself from this marginal position and become independent.
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