Bul­garia’s old­est city hon­ored as Euro­pean cul­ture cap­i­tal

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

the old­est city in Bul­garia, has been of­fi­cially in­au­gu­rated as the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture for 2019. Some 50,000 peo­ple gath­ered on a main square Satur­day to watch the open­ing show dubbed “We are all col­ors” with 1,500 lo­cal and for­eign artists on sev­eral stages. The en­ter­tain­ment in­cluded tra­di­tional Bul­gar­ian

PLOV­DIV,

folk dancers, 200 choir singers, a brass orches­tra and a mu­si­cal and laser spec­ta­cle.

Squeezed be­tween the Balkan and the Rodopi Moun­tains, Bul­garia’s sec­ond-largest city has sur­vived for thou­sands of years on the cross­roads be­tween Western Europe and the Mid­dle East. Plov­div is in cen­tral Bul­garia, 144 kilo­me­ters (90 miles) south­east of Sofia, the cap­i­tal.

Plov­div claims to be the old­est con­tin­u­ally in­hab­ited Euro­pean city, with more than 6,000 years of his­tory. Ev­i­dence of that can be seen in many ar­chi­tec­tural land­marks dat­ing back to Thra­cian, Greek, Ro­man, Byzan­tine and Ot­toman times.

The city on both sides of the Mar­itsa River is also known for its eth­nic di­ver­sity. Many of its 340,000 in­hab­i­tants be­long to the coun­try’s Turk­ish, Roma, Ar­me­nian, Greek and Jew­ish mi­nori­ties, all of which have quite a strong in­flu­ence on the city’s vi­brant cul­tural life.

Ex­am­ples of this in­flu­ence were pre­sented dur­ing the open­ing mu­sic, light and dance show un­der the motto “To­gether.”

Some 350 cul­tural events are sched­uled in Plov­div this year, in­clud­ing one ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tur­ing frag­ments of the Ber­lin Wall to mark 30 years since its fall and an­other with 30 short films and de­bates on how art can fos­ter lib­erty.

Plov­div, the first Bul­gar­ian city to be­come a Euro­pean cul­ture cap­i­tal, was also named among The New York Times’ list of 52 places to go in 2019. It shares the 2019 cul­ture ti­tle with the Ital­ian city of Mat­era. “This year will be a turn­ing point for Plov­div. We have spent four years to pre­pare all events. I’m sure that Plov­div will never be the same,” Svet­lana Kuyumdzhieva, the art di­rec­tor of Plov­div 2019, told re­porters.

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