2019 saw Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy) nominated as the European Capital of Culture.
The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “The programmes for Plovdiv and Matera show how these cities envisage both their own future and that of Europe, whilst celebrating their extraordinary centuries-old heritage. The European Capital of Culture initiative brings people together and highlights the role of culture in building a European identity. Both cities will help ensure a long-term impact of last year’s successful European Year of Cultural Heritage, which has demonstrated how culture can transform our cities and regions for the better. I wish Plovdiv and Matera every success in the coming year.”
Plovdiv is the first ever Bulgarian city to be chosen as European Capital of Culture. With a full programme under the motto “Together”, 2019 will bring new opportunities to the region and international visibility for the city. More than 300 projects have been organised in Plovdiv and the South Central Region of Bulgaria as well as in the cities of Varna, Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo. These activities include festivals and community-based projects structured around themes linked to the characteristic features of Plovdiv, its history, cultural heritage and challenges facing the city. From discovering the Cyrillic alphabet through various exhibitions to joint theatre productions with the Western Balkans and the Roma and Turkish communities, visitors will have an array of activities to participate in. The opening celebrations will take place from 11 – 13 January, with a series of indoor and outdoor events – including a music, light and dance performance on the evening of 12 January. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society will attend the official opening ceremony on 12 January.