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Wrocław – the European Capital of Culture

From 16 January 2016, Wrocław is officially the European Capital of Culture alongside the Spanish city of San Sebastian. For twelve months the capital of Lower Silesia will be inviting everyone to various cultural events and celebrations relating to the city’s historic heritage and prepared specifically for this occasion.

The awarding of the title of the European Capital of Culture is a recognition of Wrocław’s enormous contribution to the development of European culture. Since the Middle Ages, Wrocław has played an important role in this part of Europe, as a melting pot of German, Polish, Czech, Jewish, and even Walloon cultural influences. This title is also a recognition of Wrocław’s cultural and scientific achievements after World War II. This is a city which was able to rise from the rubble despite painful wartime wounds and quickly became a focal point on the cultural map of Poland, inspiring artists from all over Europe. All this is thanks to the people who were mainly resettled from other regions of Poland, including such important academic centres as Lwów and Wilno.

Today Wrocław is an important scientific and academic centre, a city of many colleges, which were home to numerous scholars, including Hugo Steinhaus, Ludwik Hirszfeld, Wincenty Styś, and Włodzimierz Trzebiatowski.

Wrocław was particularly famous for its achievements in drama and music. The city’s theatres include Jerzy Grotowski’s avant-garde theatre “Teatr Laboratorium”, Henryk Tomaszewski’s pantomime theatre and the “Kalambur” student theatre. Since the 1960s, its music festivals, many of which are still organized today, such as the ”Wratislavia Cantans” festival of oratorio and cantata music and the ”Jazz on the Odra” festival, have become a showcase for the city. Wrocław is also known for its achievements in cinema, primarily associated with the Feature Film Studio. Today the city proudly hosts the New Horizons film festival.

Wrocław has been preparing for the celebrations of the European Capital of Culture for several years. The artistic activities, exhibitions and cultural events will cover all the most important fields of art. This includes both classic art forms, such as theatre, opera, music, literature, architecture, as well as modern art – film, performance, and visual arts. For the purpose of the celebrations, many new buildings have been erected in the city, including the impressive complex of the National Forum of Music. During this special year, Wrocław will also host the ceremony of the European Film Awards. The city will also enjoy the title of the World Book Capital.

The gold coin features the architectural motif of the stairs of the National Forum of Music in Wrocław. On the obverse, an image of the face of an ancient sculpture – a symbol of the ancient roots of European culture – was incorporated into this motif.

The silver coin also features the architectural motif of the stairs of the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw. On the reverse it is accompanied by the figure of an artist – a performer or a dancer. The figure points to the building in a dance gesture, encouraging us to visit. His costume is decorated with motifs from the European Capital of Culture graphic identification system. The graphic symbol of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016 is featured above.

dr Łukasz Koniarek PhD