MATERA, EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2019EU | January 15, 2019, Tuesday // 16:01| views
With a lot of music and light show on 19 January, the southern Italian city of Matera in the Basilica region became an official European capital of culture for 2019 next to Plovdiv, where the ceremony took place on January 12th.
Matera, located in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata has been awarded the title of the 2019 European Capital of Culture in Italy. The five other Italian cities shortlisted as finalists for the title were: Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia, Ravenna and Siena, reported discoverbasilicata.com
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for culture, stated: “I congratulate Matera on its successful bid. The competition for the title in Italy was one of the strongest ever, with 21 initial contenders narrowed down to six finalists. I am confident that Matera will attract more visitors from Europe and all over the world to discover the city, its history and the cultural diversity which is one of strengths of our continent. I am convinced that the title will bring Matera and its surrounding area significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits, as we have seen with previous European Capitals of
The European Capital of Culture started in 1985 where the Commission of the European Union choose a city that holds the title for one year. Matera now has four years to curate a programme of installations, activities and events to celebrate being awarded the 2019 European Capital of Culture. The programme must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term cultural and social development of the city. Previous winners of the title in Italy include Florence and Bologna. Since the announcement on Friday 17th October, actor Richard Gere who filmed King David in Matera passed on his congratulations for the city and commented “Matera is a very special place”.
The ancient city of Matera is steeped in history and is home to the famous Sassi, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back over 7000 years. While part of the town spreads out across the Murgia Plateau, the famed Sassi comprises cave dwellings and rock churches built on and dug into the sides of the Gravina Gorge which drops dramatically away beneath it. The cave dwellings of the Sassi are the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean. Now, however, the Sassi district has gone through extensive re-development and hosts some incredible cave hotels, private homes and restaurants, lovingly restored to enhance their original features. Explore this complex and beautiful network of caves, churches, streets, stairways, archways and terraces on foot to best experience this atmospheric city