ISTANBUL – Starting tomorrow Istanbul will officially be Cultural Capital of Europe for one year. On seven locations in the city events are planned for Saturday night, for example a big fireworks display in the presence of President Abdullah Gül and a concert by popular singer Tarkan on Taksim, the central square of the city.
Besides Istanbul, Essen (Ruhr Region, Germany) and Pécs in Hungary are also Cultural Capitals of Europe in 2010. Istanbul will be presented as city where many cultures have long come together: in the Ottoman period (1453-1923) Istanbul was a cosmopolitan city with, apart from Turks, also hosted big Armenian, Greek, Jewish, Polish and Albanian communities. Since the foundation of the Republic the city has been more homogenous, but this city of 16 million people still draws immigrants from across the globe.
In “Istanbul 2010” artists from all over the world will participate. Activities are not only organized for the city centre, but also in outlying suburbs, so that Istanbullers who live far away from the centre of activities can also join in the cultural atmosphere.