On June 28, 2011, San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque) was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2016 for Spain, and on May 10, 2012, Europe confirmed it. San Sebastian is a city of 180.000 inhabitants located in the northen coast of Spain and will host the 2016 title along with the Polish city of Wroclaw.
The initiative of naming European Capitals of Culture started in 1985, and and according to the official website of the European Commission, the aim is to express and promote the cultural diversity of Europe, bring tourists from other European countries and, achieve the mutual understanding.
The city is chosen as a European Capital of Culture not solely for what it is nowadays, but mainly for what it plans to do during the year 2016.
An example for 2016 is that Tolosa-San Sebastian will be hosting the International Puppet festival. In short, the aim of the activities is to make the citizens build the city.
Donostia-San Sebastian bids for the theme “waves of citizens’ energy.” It represents waves of energy pointing at a pier in the heart of the city where waves break into the rocks. It also symbolises the waves of energy the citizens will bring into the European Capital of Culture process over the next four years.
The following buildings are the most representative of culture in Donostia-San Sebastian:
- Kursaal Congress Center (see photo on the left): It is an architectonic work made by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, built in front of the Cantabrian Sea, in which there are more than 300 events with 600,000 participants per year;
- San Telmo Museum: An old recycled building, made of stone, wood and glass. It is the biggest museum in the Basque Country region, and it is focused on greater understating of the Basque society, starting from prehistory to present;
- Tabakalera: The former tobacco factory of San Sebastian will convert into an International Contemporary Culture Centre, specializing in visual culture. Contemporary art, television, video and cinema, design and sound will be located within the same space;
- Aquarium – Palace of the Sea: A natural science museum, with fish coming from salty water and others from fresh water. It has a 360º tunnel, an auditorium, and a sea-facing restaurant;
- Other special events with an international reputation:
AAAAAAA- International Film Festival;
AAAAAAA- Human rights film festival;
AAAAAAA- Horror and fantasy film festival;
AAAAAAA- Jazz Festival, and more.
There are hundreds of cultural activities which make San Sebastian, Spain a worthwhile visit. Which kind of activities would you arrange for a Capital of Culture?
Credits: Images, data and videos linked to sources.