Each year, cities chosen as European Capitals of Culture – in 2013 Marseille and Košice – provide living proof of the richness and diversity of European cultures. Started in 1985, the initiative has become one of the most prestigious and high-profile cultural events in Europe.
More than 40 cities have been designated European Capitals of Culture so far, from Stockholm to Genoa, Athens to Glasgow, and Cracow to Porto.
A city is not chosen as a European Capital of Culture solely for what it is, but mainly for what it plans to do for a year that has to be exceptional. Its programme for the year must meet some specific criteria.
The European Capitals of Culture initiative was set up to:
- highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures
- celebrate the cultural ties that link Europeans together
- bring people from different European countries into contact with each other's culture and promote mutual understanding
- foster a feeling of European citizenship