From 19 January Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria have been crowned as the European capitals of culture 2019.

Matera and Plovdiv, the European capitals of culture 2019

MATERA

Matera is a town of 60 thousand inhabitants of the South of Italy known for the Sassi , the historic houses built in the natural quarries of the Matera Murgia, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “It is an opportunity for the city to show the world its historical attractions” – said the Italian MEP Piernicola Pedicini, member of the Europe of freedom and direct democracy. “People will have the opportunity to admire the beauty of the excavated maternal houses in the rock, the underground churches, the 13th century Cathedral and the incredible panorama that surrounds the city”. Two pillar projects created for the occasion: “I-DEA”, dedicated to research and representation of the anthropological, artistic and cultural history of the Basilicata region, and “Open Design School”, a design, experimentation and interdisciplinary innovation laboratory.

PLOVDIV

Nicknamed “the Bulgarian Florence” because of its enormous artistic heritage, Plovdiv – in the south-central part of Bulgaria, in the heart of the Thraceplain. It is the second largest city in the country, with about 345 thousand inhabitants. It is the first Bulgarian city to play the role of European capital of culture. “After the presidency of the European Council (between January and June 2018), Plovdiv 2019 is one of the next major events in Bulgaria,” said the Bulgarian MEP of the European People’s Party, Andrey Kovatchev. On program there are over 300 projects and about 500 events in more than 70 places in the city. “We are expecting an influx of over two million tourists ready to visit Plovdiv in 2019”, anticipates the MEP.