Mayor of Wrocław Rafał Dutkiewicz gave an optimistic speech to mark the occasion, emphasising that the European Capital of Culture has filled the city with ‘new creative energy’. He also highlighted the need for dialogue and openness around the world, with his thoughts going out to innocent civilians in war-torn places.
He added that dynamic economic growth and strengthening creativity and innovativeness through investing in culture are the path to become a modern city. He also reminded listeners that Wrocław is applying for the European Green Capital Award:
Here are our aspirations, here we see the opportunity to further develop. We want greenery, we want our air to be clean, and we want to introduce silence into thoughts and lives of the inhabitants of Wrocław. The city of economics and culture is looking to complement its future identity with a marriage with nature. We want to be a Green Capital and we will use this opportunity.
During the closing ceremony, it was reported that over 2,000 artistic events had taken place in Wrocław this year thanks to the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) programme. According to estimations, around 5.2 million people took part. The mayor emphasised that participation in culture grew not only among Wrocław inhabitants, but that it was estimated that the capital of Lower Silesia was visited by over 5 million tourists, 2 million more than the previous year.
Among the biggest events organised in 2016 as part of ECoC programme were the European Film Awards gala and the Theatre Olympics. Wrocław was also given the title of UNESCO World Book Capital which it will hold until April 2017. Wrocław also hosted concerts by David Gilmour and Ennio Morricone.
Several huge performances also took place as part of the project The Flow Quartet, directed by Chris Baldwin. The first part, Bridges, was a project realised in June 2015 in which 27 bridges were turned into artistic arrangements. The second part was the opening ceremony of ECoC titled Spirits of Wrocław. The third, Flow, presented in June 2016, was a huge spectacle-performance on the banks of the River Odra. The last part, titled The Sky Web took place during the closing ceremony. It referred to the previous parts of The Flow Quarter and was a type of summary of the year – it was a story about the 20th-century history of Wrocław as seen by three generations of women living in the city.
Over a hundred artistic events were organised during the closing weekend of ECoC. On 18th December 2016, The Sound Play took place in which Polish actors – Małgorzata Foremniak, Arkadiusz Jakubik and Robert Więckiewicz – read the works of Sławomir Mrożek.
Wrocław was the European Capital of Culture 2016 alongside San Sebastian in Spain (the capital of the Gipuzkoa province in the autonomous community of the Basque Country). In 2017, Aarhus in Denmark and Paphos in Cyprus will serve as the new ECoCs.
Soruce: PAP, written by md, translated by ns, az, December 2016.