While this is pretty big news and I don't know how I didn't blog about it when it actually was announced in June, Donostia - San Sebastian has been selected by the by the EU as one of the two European Capitals of Culture for 2016.
While 2016 is quite a ways off, Donostia is already preparing for a year full of European cultural events that will attract tons of attention to our little beach town. Set up in the 80s, Europe decided that culture wasn't getting as much attention as politics and economics in the Union and that shomething should be done to spruce that up. With Athens being named as the Capital of Culture in 1985, the naming of cultural capitals began. Since then, Capitals have included Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Prague, Stockholm and many more. In 2011, Tallin (Estonia) and Turku (Finland) were in the spotlight and this year, Guimares (Portgual) and Maribor (Slovenia) are kicking off thier year of culture.
With the intention to celebrate culture, the European Commision set up this initiative to, according to thier website, highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures as well as celebrate the ties between said cultures. The program accomplishes this for the EU but for the host city does even more. With a big increase in tourism as well as a year full of cultural events, the Capital of Culture's name is resounded all over Europe. For the last year and a half or so, I have been hearing about SS being the City of Culture while they were campaigning to win. Many cities all over Europe put in a bid and advertised why THEY should be the Capital. Here is the promotional video for Donostia that helped them win:
It definitley makes the city look amazing, which it is. From 3 beautiful beaches as well as the coastline, San Sebastian is home to many surf competitions, rowing races and summer activities. The Film Festival brings people, famous and not, from all over the world to see one of the hundreds of movies shown at this International Filmfest. The Real Society soccer team is in the top league in Spain and classifies as a legitimate professional team, drawing sportfans to the town as well. With a library in each neighborhood and over a handful of museums in the city, art exhibits and cultural talks are always happening. The maintaintence of Basque culture, be it with thier dances, songs or sports helps show the history of the city. The food - pintxos, Michelin restaurants, and fresh sea food at the market are also amazing additions to the eating culture of Donostia too. Whether it is parachuting or concert-watching that you want to do, San Sebastian really does offer it all. I guess I could say I am quite biased, living here some time now, but watching that video, you really get the impression that it is an incredible place to visit - and it is! Case in point, you should pay me a visit!