Plzeň triumphs in culture capital bid
The Czech city of Plzeň – best known for its world-famous lager – has reason to celebrate: on Wednesday shortly after 4 pm, members of an international jury announced that it – and not rival Ostrava in the east of the country - had won the bid to become 2015’s European Capital of Culture. It will share the honour with the Belgian city of Mons.
For good reason: the prestigious title will allow the west Bohemian town (like Belgium’s Mons) to showcase its cultural life and history for the period of one year. As the winner, the city of 170,000 inhabitants will be able to draw 1.5 million euros (the equivalent of around 38 million crowns) from European funds to go towards its cultural projects.
By contrast, Ostrava as the other bidder, also planned plenty of changes, pledging to build a new concert hall, gallery and music pavilion. These projects will not be abandoned but will go ahead says Ostrava’s Mayor Petr Kajnar.
The international jury which chose Plzeň over Ostrava in a secret vote will keep 'mum' about the process, even if the decision was extremely close: six jury members in favour of Plzeň, five for Ostrava. Ostrava’s Mayor Petr Kajnar says it is difficult to guess why the jury decided the way it did, adding what’s done is done.
The jury’s choice of Plzeň still has to be confirmed by the EU but that is largely a formality, meaning Plzeň will become only the second Czech city to hold the prestigious title: the first was the capital Prague back in 2000.