Timisoara has been selected to be Romania’s European Capital of Culture in 2021, the European Commission announced on Friday, September 16.
Four Romanian cities were on the short-list for the title: the capital Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Baia Mare, and Timisoara. An expert committee made of 10 representatives of the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament, and 2 experts appointed by Romania’s Ministry of Culture selected the winner, after looking over the strategies presented by the four cities on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Romanian authorities will officially designate Timisoara as the 2021 European Capital of Culture in the following months.
"It's a huge responsibility. We are aware that what's hard is yet to come," said Timisoara mayor Nicolae Robu after the winner was announced. He added that the budget for the project to prepare the city for holding this title in 2021 is EUR 48.5 million. Some EUR 20 million come from the local council, EUR 5 million from the County Council, EUR 1.5 million from the European Commission, and the rest from the state budget.
The European Capitals of Culture are one of the most recognized EU projects. They started in 1985 on the initiative of the then Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. Sibiu was Romania’s first European Capital of Culture in 2007.
The 2016 Capitals of Culture are Donostia-San Sebastian in Spain and Wroclaw in Poland. Next year’s Capitals of Culture are Aarhus in Denmark and Pafos in Cyprus, followed in 2018 by Leeuwarden (Netherlands) and Valetta (Malta), in 2019 by Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy), and in 2020 by Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland).
The Capital of Culture title also has a significant economic stake, as the selected cities benefit from international exposure and draw more tourists due to various cultural events. This also boosts the local hospitality sector.
(Photo source: Wikipedia)