Thessaloniki, 1997: Cultural Capital of Europe


The first Cultural Capital of Europe was Athens in 1985. The initiative of the then Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri, evolved into a leading cultural institution for Europe and until 1997 it will have passed through twelve European cities.

Preparing a Cultural Capital of Europe

After twenty three centuries of uninterrupted history, Thessaloniki is a city with monuments of unique value from every period of its rich cultural tradition. Here, the ancient Greek columns and Macedonian tombs co-exist in harmony with the Roman buildings, Byzantine walls, numerous Byzantine churches, muslim temples and European architectural tendencies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The infrastructure works for hosting the institution aim to highlight every fold of this cultural heritage, generating new uses for many of these monuments, so that they can host cultural events and performances in 1997. In addition, the modern side of the city will be strengthened by the construction of new works, thus adding to Thessaloniki cultural ambitions that go beyond 1997.

A City of People

The point where East meets West, the cross-roads of peoples and civilisations, the nursery of new ideas and achievements, Thessaloniki has always been a city of the people. Here, the human being is still the focus and expression of the culture. The Greek culture values of human communication, solidarity and contribution to the city as a whole have never ceased to be nurtured in Thessaloniki, thus setting the style for life and co-existence. The people who live here are warm, hospitable and have a positive outlook for life. Through the living experience of their heritage, they know how to be happy with the slightest while creating the greatest. The unique ambience of this city is not solely due to its history, sea and modern dynamic character: It is composed, first and foremost, by the smiles and friendly disposition of its inhabitants. Because here, it's people who make the culture