Plovdiv, Sofia, Tarnovo, Varna Shortlisted for Europe Culture CapitalCulture | December 12, 2013, Thursday // 19:58| views
The selection panel has shortlisted 4 Bulgarian cities - Plovdiv, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo and Varna - to continue the competition for European Capital of Culture 2019.
During 2019, Bulgaria and Italy will co-host the European Culture Capital, with the Italian candidates already shortlisted in November: Cagliari, Lecce, Matera, Perugia, Ravenna and Siena.
Italy's candidates who made it to the second round are not major Italian cities, which is not the case for the Bulgarian counterparts: Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria, Plovdiv and Varna - the second and third largest, while Veliko Tarnovo is a regional center (and late medieval capital).
Bulgaria invited applications from interested cities at the end of 2012, with a total of 8 cities applying: Burgas, Gabrovo, Ruse, Shumen, in addition to the ones shortlisted.
"I am very pleased to see that eight Bulgarian cities took part in the competition to be the first European Capital of Culture in Bulgaria. I warmly congratulate the four cities which have been nominated following the first round of the competition," stated Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education and Culture.
"Just being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, provided that their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy," added she.
Once the panel's recommendation has been confirmed by Bulgaria, the cities have until next summer to complete their applications. The selection panel will meet again in the third quarter of 2014 to recommend which city which will be the European Capital of Culture.
The applications were examined by a panel composed of 13 independent cultural experts - six appointed by Bulgaria and seven by the European Union institutions.
Following Marseille (France) and Ko?ice (Slovakia) this year, Ume? (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2014, Mons (Belgium) and Plzen (Czech Republic) in 2015, Wroc?aw (Poland) and Donastia-San Sebasti?n (Spain) in 2016, Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) in 2017 and Valletta (Malta) in 2018. Leeuwarden (Netherlands) has been proposed as European Capital of Culture in 2018.
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