Marseille in France and Kosice in Slovakia have both been named the European Capital of Culture for 2013. The Programme for the prestigious event will begin officially on 12th January for Marseille, and 19th January for Kosice.
Marseille will launch its festivities with four main events, starting with a public opening ceremony that will be attended by European commission president, Jose Manuel. Following the opening ceremony there will be the opening of an art exhibition in Aix-en-Provence, a treasure hunt in Marseille-Provence, and then a firework display to mark the end of the launch weekend. Kosice plans on starting its celebrations and festivities at a number of locations throughout the city which include the State Theatre, Steel Arena and multiple clubs, restaurants and cultural locations.
The two cities have been awarded the Melina Mercouri Prize, a cultural award worth 1.5 million Euros.
"I'm sure the public will be treated to an unforgettable launch in both cities," said Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth. She went onto explain, "the opening events will mark the beginning of what will be a tremendous year of cultural activities, aimed not only at local people from the city and surrounding region, but also at those coming from much further afield. The European Capital of Culture has been a fantastic EU success story for more than 25 years: the title is a unique opportunity to boost a city's cultural vibrancy and long-term development, as well as being hugely important for tourism, job creation and urban regeneration. I wish both 2013 Capitals of Culture every success!"