Historic Moment in a historic city

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Not Sofia, Plovdiv! Bulgaria’s second largest city capital of culture 2019 is next to Matera in Italy. Under the Motto “Together” has begun in the city with a large Celebration in your honor year.

“This is a unique and historic Moment for our city,” said Plovdiv mayor Ivan Totew before the opening ceremony. “There has never been in Plovdiv a little with such a large jet power such as the title ‘European capital of culture’. Since we were selected, we feel that.”

The start of the year of culture in Plovdiv fell this Saturday, first with a Grand Open-Air Show in the evening. The artists ‘ collective Phase7 staged in front of tens of thousands of visitors on a 40-Meter-high tower for a spectacular light show. With local music and dances and gave us a taste of the Motto of the European capital of culture 2019. “Together” (“Together”) a total of one thousand inhabitants of Plovdiv in the case of the one-hour Show on the stage. The people in the city of Plovdiv should be in the evening and in the coming year – the protagonists. It was at the art parade Ayliak on Europe’s longest Boulevard in may or on of the already opened exhibition on the history of the tobacco industry of Plovdiv.

Cultivation and processing of tobacco in Plovdiv, great Tradition. By the end of the 19th century. Century was produced on a large scale.

“Together” is a Headline that fits well to Plovdiv. In the so-called Rome of the Balkans, antique backrest Greek columns to Roman walls and ancient Turkish baths. It is discovered in an alley with a synagogue and an early Christian Basilica, towers over the roofs in the city centre, the Djumaja mosque from the 14th century./15. Century. And still today, live in Plovdiv, Bulgarian, Roma and people who feel connected to the Armenian, Ukrainian or Turkish culture. A Mulitkulti city, as in the book – and 8000 years ago, one of the oldest in the world.

Curator Svetlana Kuyumdhieva at the inauguration of the exhibition “Art of Liberty” consisting of painted Parts of the Berlin wall.

“It was always in such a way that people of different cultures or ethnic groups in this corner of the world have divided. It is part of our DNA,” says Svetlana Kuyumdhieva, the curator of Plovdiv 2019. This should also be reflected in the program again, it was in the run-up to a lot of dispute.

In June, the theatre project “Medea brings together” children and young people of different ethnicity and religions. Also, “100% Plovdiv”, a project guided by the famous theatre collective “Rimini Protokoll”, to decidedly bring Theaterleien of different backgrounds together. As well as the project “Learn from Stopinovo”, trying specifically to build a bridge to the Roma community to Plovdiv. Because it is in the city of Plovdiv, while proud of its colorful diversity, but easily not. The Roma are cleaved, the relationship is often strained and not infrequently it comes to racist hostility – even from the policy.

“We have, on the application of our problems here in the open, you are in our program written, and you want to tackle now, finally, with the help of this year of culture,” says mayor Totew compared to the DW.

Already during the planning phase, only the title “European capital of culture have changed” so much. “Before, no one has spoken of contemporary art. Today, the whole city talks about it.” It was possible to put more money into schools in neighborhoods of the Roma Comunities, and the trendy artists ‘ quarter Kapana could be made car-free – something that was previously unthinkable.

Bars, cafes, a Flair between rancid, weird and just nice and colourful. This is Kapana, quasi-Bulgaria is the only Hip-area.

Lubomir Marovski studied IT at one of the many universities in Plovdiv. He sees a lot of potential in Plovdiv, and looking forward to the many international guests

IT Student Ludomir Marovski works in a cafe. He is of two minds about Plovdiv 2019. “I am excited about the many attractions and international people that come in, sure, but what I don’t understand is, why are you lifting at the same time, ticket prices for certain exhibitions. Now the money from the EU is there, and we have to pay more. This is not true.”

The 23-Year-old is not the only one it bothers that the city has recently increased the ticket prices for cultural offers of 20 percent. And this is just one of the many points of contention, which already existed in the run-up. One of them is this: critics accuse the person in charge, promised projects, not the establishment of a tobacco city from the Remnants of the old factory buildings – including. These are now left to the weather.

Penka Poydovska is sure that it is progressing in Plovdiv

Penka Poydovska is still proud of. “It is the Best thing that could happen to us. This year will do us all good. And if more tourists come, the better.”

And the tourists, they come. In the past few years, during the planning phase, the number of visitors in 2017 to a million multiplied. For 2018 to 1.5 million. 2019 is likely to blow up all the records – at least in the history books of Plovdiv.