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Ioannina is a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture

Ioannina is a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture

In closing yesterday's City Council meeting, the Mayor of Ioannina, Thomas Begkas, said: "Societies are moving forward when looking in the eyes of the challenges. We say 'yes' to the challenge of Cultural Capital. We say 'yes' to a city open and outward-looking."

At this meeting, was taken by a large majority the "principle decision to stand for the qualification" Ioannina-Epirus Cultural Capital of Europe 2021.

Believing deeply that Ioannina and generally Epirus, are able to fully meet the criteria that are raised by the claim of the institution of the Cultural Capital, Mr Begkas invited the citizens of Ioannina, the competent bodies of the city, the expatriates of Epirus to participate in the common effort. An effort that was undertaken "after mature reflection and in full awareness of the responsibilities and difficulties of the task."

As noted by Mr. Begkas the title of The Capital of Culture is awarded to a city, but can be accompanied by actions throughout the region, "and such cooperation we will seek with other municipalities of Epirus." As a result, the full title of the application will be Ioannina-Epirus European Capital of Culture 2021. The application should be submitted no later than October 23, 2015 and should be based on a cultural program with a strong European dimension.

The Mayor of Ioannina did not fail to mention the difficulties of the task and the intense competition of many Greek cities, stressing that "the Municipality of Ioannina will allocate all its forces to claim the Cultural Capital, as it is a process by which we can gain very significant benefits not only Ioannina but also the wider region of Epirus. " He pointed out that "even if there is no final conclusion that we want and we will seek with all our strength will be a profit even as such, this process of claim. The planning that is made, the ideas that are coming, the mobilization and involvement of creative forces and the local community in general, the reputation that we earn, enhancing the profile of the city through culture, it is to our benefit. "

If is reached the goal of promotion of Ioannina in European Capital of Culture, the benefit will be undoubtedly huge and that’s what mentioned the Mayor of Ioannina, Thomas Begkas, taking into account the recorded experiences of previous Capitals of Culture. Reference was made not only in the economic benefits which are associated with the readability that the city wins, which is reflected in the growth of tourism and reputation, but also to the culture and long-term benefits. As he said: "The Cultural Capital acts as a catalyst for gradual change in the city or the surrounding area". As explained by the Mayor, to enforce the title, we have to submit a project with European and international reach, which will not be limited to only attract visitors but targeted at residents, artists and cultural operators.

So it is necessary to involve all social and age groups and people with special skills in the implementation of the new cultural strategy which will draw together. The main role will play, young people and artists, because they will have to implement in the future this strategy and to benefit from its achievements. "We have every chance to fight for the title of Cultural Capital and win it, despite the difficulties," said Mayor and concluded: "The Epirus with the pure natural environment, continuously inhabited from prehistoric times to the present day , the Epirus, the house of Dodoni, of Nicopolis, of Arta, of Metsovo, of the countless post-Byzantine monuments. The Epirus of the great masters of the Greek Enlightenment. The Epirus of silversmiths, the craftsmen, merchants and bankers, who benefited not only Greece, but also the cities of Western Europe and the Balkans where they acted. The Epirus of pluralism and pentatonic, with the music and dance tradition. Epirus: the crossroads of civilizations and the hub of trade routes connecting the East and the West. Epirus: Gate entrance of the West to the East and the Balkans, thanks to the port of Igoumenitsa and the new Highway. Epirus, will then write its name beside the candidate's cultural capital of Europe: Ioannina - Epirus is the full title. Ioannina, the city of timeless culture. The city with the three cultures, Christian, Jewish, Muslim. The castle, its lake, its thriving University School of Plastic Arts, the EHM, the 3 Conservatories, the Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic, the halls, the active associations and the dynamic presence of children and young people. For this city we will fight with weapons innovative cultural activities. For a city extrovert open, modern, European".