Istanbul named European Capital of Culture for 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hagia Sophia
Image: Roweromaniak.

Istanbul, named European Capital of Culture for 2010, celebrated with spectacular fireworks displays, light shows, cultural performances, and concerts, which were arranged at seven locations across the city, symbolising the seven hills on which ancient Istanbul was built.

The European Union chose Istanbul, Turkey's and Europe's largest city, as one of the three European Capitals of Culture for 2010 in 2006, along with Pécs in Hungary, and Essen in Germany. With its rich heritage and urban life, Istanbul is already recognized as one of the world's great cultural capitals.

Maiden's Tower
Image: Mkaraarslan.

Istanbul beat Kiev, Ukraine's capital, for the title and became the last European Capital of Culture outside the EU; after 2010, non-EU cities can no longer apply.

Istanbul is a European city.

—Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The celebrations started with a protocol event taking place at the Haliç Congress Centre, where Ministers from Turkey as well as neighbouring countries participated.

"Istanbul is a European city. With its heart, its culture and civilisation, its people, its past and future, it has always looked towards Europe. Istanbul has shaped European culture and has been shaped by it." said Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the country's Prime Minister.