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Sofia candidate for European capital of Culture

bnr.bg, Alexander Markov

It is better to start preparations early, the Sofia Municipality announced and launched a number of initiatives aiming at Sofia becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2019. This is the year when at the initiative of the EC, Bulgaria and Italy must apply with one city each. Residents of Sofia hope their city will be the one chosen to participate.

The Bulgarian and Italian cities will actually host together the European Capital of Culture and will not compete with each other. Other Bulgarian cities are also interested in participating. These are Plovdiv, Varna, and Ruse. It seems, however, that Sofia will be the Bulgarian candidate, the municipality says. The local administration has already organised a number of meetings and discussions in order to come up with a winning strategy. The last word, however, will have experts from the EU and Bulgaria, who in 2014 will select the Bulgarian city to participate in the initiative. Despite the fact 2019 is far away, the Sofia Municipality are already thinking of ways how to turn the Bulgarian capital into a European Capital of Culture. One of Sofia’s advantages is its ancient history, and the countless historical monuments.

Sofia has a great cultural potential. The renovation of several historical buildings, which will be turned into galleries and museums, has already started, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said. She added that in two years, part of the historical park Serdika-Sredec, revealing the antique and medieval history of the city will be open for visitors. By that time the new museum in the Saint Sofia Basillica, where 42 tombs from the 1st-4th century were recently discovered, will also be open. Sofia is also a host of a number of cultural events. New galleries are often opened to host the rising number of exhibitions of contemporary artists. The Sofia Municipality have a number of interesting ideas, such as turning the stations of the metropolitan into art galleries or using the old building of the Sofia Central Prison, as an art center.

Experts, however, know that in order for Sofia to become a European capital of Culture, it must offer something more than ancient history. That is why the strategy of Sofia’s participation in the initiative will be devised after public discussions and thorough analyses. The positive effects for the city can be considerable, keeping in mind what happened to Istanbul, which was the European Capital of Culture during 2010.

“The initiative means a number of cultural events and thousands of foreign guests,” Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova says. “This can have positive effects of the economy. The preparation process is also very important for me, as this means development. That is why Sofia can only benefit from the initiative,” Ms. Fandakova concluded.

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Sofia 17/10/2012 21:07

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