Kalamata to vie for title of European Capital of Culture 2021

The southern Peloponnese city of Kalamata will be submitting a bid to be named European Capital of Culture for 2021, the city’s mayor said on Tuesday, with an unveiling of its proposal expected to take place on Wednesday.

The capital of the Peloponnese region of Messinia “is the city where the Greek War of Independence began in 1821 and where the leaders of the revolution gathered to transmit the message that we were throwing off the Ottoman yoke,” Kalamata Mayor Panayiotis Nikas said on Wednesday.

Other than its historical significance, they city has undergone a major overhaul as a cultural destination in the past few decades, the mayor said, citing the annual flagship Kalamata International Dance Festival as an example.

The European Capital of Culture institution was founded in 1985 by former actress and then-Greek Culture Minister Melina Mercouri and her French counterpart Jack Lang with the aim of promoting cultural diversity in Europe.

The title is currently held jointly by Marseilles in France and Kosice in Slovakia.

Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra have served as European Capital of Culture in 1985, 1997 and 2006 respectively.

The Romanian cities of Cluj-Napoca and Craiova will also be competing for the distinction in 2021.

The Municipality of Kalamata is expected to unveil its bid on Wednesday in an official event attended by leading proponents of the arts and business in the region of Messinia.

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