ISTANBUL 2011
| Capital Of Culture |

Istanbul is choosen the Capital of Culture for 2010. The idea of having a European Capital of Culture was first put forward in 1985. In the same year the European Union Council of Ministers determined the scope of the project and put it into implementation.

From 1985 to 2000 one city from the countries which were members of the European Union was selected each year as European Capital of Culture. To mark the start of the new millennium, from 2000 onwards the title of European Capital of Culture began to be given both to more than one city each year and to cities in countries which were candidates for EU membership. Istanbul has choosen as European Capital of Culture.

The dossier, entitled “Istanbul: City of the Four Elements” was presented to the Council of Europe General Directorate for Education and Culture in Brussels on 13 December 2005.

Istanbul designation as the European Capital of Culture for 2010 is a unique opportunity for Istanbul residents as well as Istanbul, Turkey and Europe. Istanbul’s candidacy to become one of Europe’s capitals of culture has been a primary example of successful urban development project collaboration between Istanbul civil society organizations and government bodies. This collaboration is also a proof of Istanbullites’ continuous dedication and responsiveness for ownership of their urban environment. This ownership, with growing participation of Istanbul residents and strengthening inter-organizational collaborations, will enable us to accomplish Istanbul 2010’s mission.

Principal goal of Istanbul 2010 is to carry out a comprehensive urban development project through arts and culture, and reveal Istanbul’s cultural wealth as a huge inspirational source for the whole world.

The City of 4 Elements


Throughout history, then, Istanbul has been home to countless societies and cultures. Yet this “beautiful harmony”, which is embedded in the city’s foundations and entwined in the branches of its family tree, is not just a pleasant memento from a bygone era. Istanbul retains still its rich cosmopolitan character, sometimes concealing and sometimes revealing the evidence of its unrivalled physical and cultural legacy. The city is a living example of the much sought-after meeting of civilisations - something so desperately missing in the modern world that the search for it seems almost utopian. For more than two thousand years, as if inspired by Aristotle’s theory of the four elements, the city has captivated humankind’s attention.

Once it was gold that people saw as the perfect blend of the four elements. Istanbul, which once ruled lands on three continents, throughout the ages has served as a magnet for migrants for whom its streets are paved with that proverbial gold. After all the traumas it has experienced since its foundation, symbolically guided by the four elements, Istanbul is now promising to revitalise the formula imprinted in its genes. In cultural and in artistic terms it will be worth its weight in gold to the world as a European Capital of Culture.

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