Timisoara, western Romania, has been designated the Romanian city to be the next European Capital of Culture 2021, Steve Green, chair of the international jury that made the choice, told a new conference on Friday at the National Library in Bucharest. Bucharest and Cluj Napoca were the other two cities racing for this title.
The final selection of the Romanian bid for European Capital of Culture 2021 has been made on Friday and Thursday, with the result being announced on Friday.
The event was attended by the Romanian Culture minister Corina Suteu, Karel Bartak, Head of Culture Unit with the European Commission and the mayor of Timisoara Nicolae Robu.
“I am very excited. I want to thank the community in Timisoara, it’s a team victory, all Timisoara residents made their contribution, local councilors, church leaders, ethnic communities leaders, rectors. We are aware that the heavy job just starts now, it’s a huge responsibility, I hope we can honorably carry through this prestigious title during the upcoming five years,” said mayor Robu.
“Sometimes, great changes start at the street’s corner. In 1884, Timisoara was the first city in the inland Europe to have electric street light. In 1989, the sparkles of the Revolution against Ceausescu regime caught fire on Timisoara streets. In 2021, we want to be the European Capital of Culture to be able to share our aspirations with the rest of Europe. We aim at calling the civic energy into play. Starting from the strong metaphor of light, we want ‘to export’ the values that we believe in to other cities in Europe in order to stimulate an open, visionary attitude among citizens. The slogan of our bid is the essence of our message: Light the city through you!”, this is how Timisoara’s final bid file starts.
President Klaus Iohannis congratulated the city of Timisoara for winning the European Capital of Culture 2021 bid, saying that Timisoara is a place of multiculturalism, of openness to novelty, and whose diversity gives it a special charm.
“Congratulations to the city of Timisoara for its success! Winning the bid for European Culture Capital 2021 means a lot of work, strong will and dedication from local authorities and community alike. I remember dearly the experience of Sibiu in 2007. It was a year of triumph, and what is most important, Sibiu remained on Europe’s cultural stage and continues to attract new visitors. Timisoara is to me a city of freedom, youth, of memories from my military service, of 1989 when, following Timisoara’s example, I took to the streets. It’s a place of multiculturalism, of openness to everything new, whose diversity gives it a special charm. I am very happy that the City of Lights will make Romania shine even more in the world!” Iohannis wrote in a post on Facebook.
The first record of the city of Timisoara, built on the site of an ancient Roman fortress called Castrum Regium Themes, dates back to 1212.
Over the years, Timisoara, the largest city in western Romania, has been influenced by many cultures. The Romans used it as an important crossroads fortress until the Tatars destroyed it in the 13th century. Conquered by Turkish armies in 1552, Timisoara remained under their protection until 1718 when the region of Banat came under Austrian rule for two centuries. Timisoara later became a vital commercial and manufacturing town. Turks, Austrians, Germans and Serbs all left their mark and their influence can be seen in neighborhoods throughout the city even today.
The charm of this city, nested on the northern bank of the Bega River, lies in its original architecture and urban design and vibrant cultural life. Frequently referred to as “Little Vienna,” Timisoara is home to year-round musical and theatrical performances, art galleries, museums and a buzzing nightlife. A progressive, cosmopolitan place, Timisoara was the first city in Europe and second in the world after New York, to use electricity to illuminate its public streets, romaniatourism.com reports.