A high-profile ceremony in Maribor’s central square, Trg Leona Štuklja, will on Saturday evening mark the beginning of the one-year stint of Slovenia’s second largest city as one of the two European Culture Capitals in 2012.
The event will be addressed by President Danilo Türk, who is the honorary sponsor of the project, and European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassilou.
The biggest cultural project in Slovenia’s history will bring more than a thousand events to Maribor and its five partner cities in the next 350 days that will, the organisers say, culturally and spiritually revive Slovenia.
The programming director of Maribor’s project, Mitja Čander, has made the revival of the city and its people the main goal of the programme, which includes 412 projects, together worth EUR 16.5m.
The programme is divided into four sections. “Terminal 12″ will feature flagship artistic projects, “Keys to the City” will be dedicated to reviving the Maribor city centre, “Urban Furrows” will focus on the environment and marginalised groups, while “Life and Touch” provides a digital dimension.
The opening weekend started on Friday evening with the opening of cultural embassies, while during the day several events will be taking place throughout the city.
Some 5,000 people are expected to attend the evening ceremony, including a number of guests from abroad. The opening event will feature more than 100 performers and will be followed by a laser show and a concert by the Slovenian rock band Dan D.