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Ministry Invites Greek Cities to Vie for 2021 European Cultural Capital

Kalamata, Messinia. Photo © Nick Pavlakis / Shutterstock

Kalamata, Messinia. Photo © Nick Pavlakis / Shutterstock

ECoC-Logo-inThe Greek culture ministry announced on Wednesday, the launch of website ecoc2021.culture.gr, inviting Greek cities interested in becoming Europe’s Cultural Capital in 2021 to submit applications.

Every year, three European cities are designated European Cultural Capital for a four-month term. For the year 2021, cities in Greece and Romania are vying for the title. The third participating country is yet to be announced.

Greek cities competing include Ermoupolis, the capital of the Cyclades island of Syros, Kalamata, Kavala, Nafplio, Piraeus, Sparta, Tripoli and Volos.

The city named will also receive the Melina Mercouri prize of 1.5 million euros on the condition that it has implemented all of the criteria presented in its application.

Piraeus. Photo © Facebook - ΟΙ ΟΜΟΡΦΙΕΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΑΣ ΜΑΣ

Piraeus. Photo © Facebook – ΟΙ ΟΜΟΡΦΙΕΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΑΣ ΜΑΣ

A group of independent experts will evaluate and then narrow down applications submitted by candidate cities before nominating the city to be awarded the title of Europe’s Cultural Capital and the Melina Mercouri prize.

Conceived in 1983 by then Greek Culture minister Melina Mercouri and established in 1985 with Mrs. Mercouri’s French counterpart Jack Lang, European Cultural Capital aims to safeguard and promote the cultural wealth and diversity of European cities as well as bring Europeans closer together. It also provides cities with a unique opportunity through the preparation procedure to enhance their image and promote an international profile as well as draw in considerable economic, social and cultural benefits.

Three Greek cities — Athens in 1985, Thessaloniki in 1997 and Patra in 2006 — have since then been named cultural capitals, drawing the international spotlight with events and activities.

The final decision will be announced in 2016.

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