Riga Latvia – European Capital of Culture 2014


Riga, Latvia, will be a European Capital of Culture in 2014. The title for the city’s cultural programme is Force Majeure which signifies a mighty force, both unexpected and foreseeable, accumulated through global and individual obstructions and problems. The aim is to strengthen the blief that culture can change the lives of people and cities for the better.



The programme has six main chapters:

Freedom Street focuses on issues of power and freedom and is rooted in the fact that 2014 will mark 100 years since the beginning of World War I.

  • Survival Kit offers synergy of ancient skills with modern knowledge across a variety of cultural forms.
  • The Road Map invites everyone to discover the unknown Riga and think about city development issues.
  • Amber Vein seeks to showcase the historial Amber Route through the Baltic Sea down to the Black Sea.
  • Thirst for the Ocean focuses on the human striving for intellectual and spiritual values and wisdom.
  • Riga Carnival will give everyone the opportunity to forget the ordianry and mundane, instead providing a time and place to rejoice and mingle.

Throughout the year there will be several book exhibitions, solo concerts by global music stars born in Latvia and an open-air concert in high summer, operatic performances including two original pieces, historic exhibitions of art, theatrical plays focusing on relationships and power, the traditional June solstice celebration – Jāņi, the World Choir Games, documentary films, the launch of creative quarters and a science festival.

For more information on Riga’s Capital of Culture programme go here.

Related Images:

Ruhr – 2010 European Capital of Culture

Ruhr 2010The European Capital of Culture Ruhr 2010 is already a resounding success. Open-air events scheduled for the summer season are expected to attract a further influx of visitors. The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is supporting the project in its role as an official partner.

One of the summer highlights as part of the region’s tenure as the European Capital of Culture is ‘Still Life’. On Sunday 18 July, the A40, the main arterial road through the Ruhr area, which sees the highest density of traffic in Germany, will be completely free of cars. The westbound carriageway will be transformed into the longest banquet in the world with 20,000 tables set up along the 60-kilometre stretch. Each one is a small stage in itself, and together they will form a large meeting place for people of different cultures, generations and nationalities. The eastbound carriageway, meanwhile, is open to all kinds of wheeled vehicles providing they are not motorised.

Throughout the summer and into October, visitors will be able to see six man-made islands of up to 300m² on Lake Baldeney in Essen and on the Ruhr river. Each one of the islands, collectively known as the Ruhr Atolls, is dedicated to the themes of ‘art and science’ and ‘energy and ecology’ in some form or other. Small groups of four to eight people will be able to actually visit three of these artificial islands. Visitors can also take an active part in the project by using their own ‘energy’ to power a boat to the islands.

The largest art project of the region’s European Capital of Culture year is also scheduled for the summer. The Emscher Art Exhibition 2010 focuses on the landscapes along the Emscher river. A total of 24 artists, groups of artists and artist cooperatives have been invited to create installations for a period of 100 days at diverse locations along the river, which reflect this change and which communicate or criticise it. Many projects have been designed not only for viewing, but also for participation and creative involvement. Emscher island is the centrepiece of the project: it covers an area of eleven square kilometres and extends 34 kilometres between the towns of Castrop-Rauxel to the east and Oberhausen to the west. It is framed by the Emscher river in the north and Rhine-Herne Canal in the south.

The programme in the Ruhr area encompasses 300 projects with approximately 5,000 events. The number of events has doubled compared to the original projections.  What’s more, the Ruhr area is easily accessible. Located at the heart of the most densely populated area of Europe, 25 million Europeans can reach the region by road or rail in less than three hours.


Related Images:

Take a Walk in Istanbul

IstanbulI make no secret that the first time I visited Istanbul I was not anticipating to be particularly enamoured.  However, I was very wrong indeed and it is easily one of my favourite cities.  So when I came across this offer I couldn’t help but shout from the rooftops about it because I believe everyone can enjoy a little magic in this year’s European Capital of Culture.

The UK’s leading guided walking holidays’ operator, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, is offering an 8 day tour of Istanbul.  Sightseeing, mostly on foot, embraces both the Turkish and European quarters of the City where one can mingle in one of the greatest market places in the world, discover Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Hippodrome, The Valens Aqueduct, the Basilica Cistern and the Theodosian City Walls.  In the city itself, one walks alongside the Golden Horn, the river dividing the two European parts of Istanbul into the old city and Beyoglu.  Geographically, historically and culturally, this European City of Culture is like no other on the planet.

Highlights include, cultural treasures like, Aya Sofya, the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque; boat trips across the Bosphorus to Asia and the Princes Islands.

Price from £779 includes flights, transfers, half-board accommodation and the services of a dedicated tour leader.

Tel: 01707 33 11 33

Related Images:

Szczecin in Poland Brought Closer

Szczecin: Tallshipps at Harbour
Szczecin: Tallshipps at Harbour

It’s getting cheaper and easier than ever before to visit Poland, thanks to the launch of a new route by Ryanair.  From 21 May, the budget airline will fly twice a week to the north-western Polish city of Szczecin from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.  With flights expected to start from as little as £20 one way, a trip to Poland is sure to be kind on your pocket.

A candidate city to be the European Capital of Culture in 2016, Szczecin is Poland’s seventh largest city and the regional capital of Western Pomerania, the country’s top sea and sun destination. Offering visitors a whole host of attractions from sandy beaches and national parks, to bustling towns and a rich, varied history, Western Pomerania is a hit with Poles and tourists alike.  It’s no surprise that Szczecin has been nominated for the European capital of Culture in 2016.

For more information visit the Polish National Tourist Office.

Related Images: