Slovakia’s first European Capital of Culture will be Košice, the second largest city after the capital, Bratislava. This victory did not benefit Lyon, the French city with which Košice had formed an unprecedented alliance between candidate cities. In the end, it was the famous Mediterranean hub of Marseilles that was selected by the panel a few days later.
Košice is endowed with a rich history and the city counts on the event to engrave Košice among other well-known cities or regions that are part of European consciousness. The ‘Interface’ project revolves around the transformation of industrial and military zones into a stimulating environment and infrastructure for creative industries. Bringing culture to the city’s periphery and stimulating exchanges between Eastern and Western Europe are the main features of a project that also boasts environmentally sound credentials. The city estimates an increased investment of about 2.4 billion crowns (80 million euro) with regard to project’s implementation, with structural funds accounting for 53%.
Robert Scott, chair of the selection panel, praised the Marseilles project for being remarkably successful in striking the balance between cultural quality, political engagement and economical support. Bernard Latarjet, the head of the Marseilles 2013 team, told French newspaper “Le Monde” that the project starts with: “A very simple idea […] The real cultural issues for Europe are migration, racism, male-female relations, religions and ecology. Marseilles is on the forefront of the fault lines of this planet. There is no more cosmopolitan city to be found. Of the four [French] candidate cities, it needs the label of European cultural capital most and can serve Europe better than the others.”