Press release


Sofia submits its application for European Capital of Culture 2019 tomorrow, October 18, 2013. 

The bid will be handed over to the Ministry of Culture at 10:10 a.m. by Yordanka Fandakova, Rositsa Yanakieva, Atanas Kambitov and Petar Paunov, mayors of Sofia, Pernik, Blagoevgrad and Kyustendil.

It is not necessarily the city with the longest history, the best cultural infrastructure or the most prestigious artistic sector which will win the title; it is however, the city with exciting and credible plans to make a significant step to change its cultural life, engage the whole society and connect us with the rest of Europe. I believe Sofia has a winning bid, and it is a winning bid because of all the support we have from the cultural, educational institutions, civil society and citizens in the city and the South-West region. Our preparations started in 2004 and ever since many political, artistic and business leaders and experts have passed the baton for the city to finish well in the race”, Mrs. Fandakova says.

The city has chosen the path of transformation, while art and culture lead the way. Dr. Todor Chobanov, Deputy Mayor of Sofia explains: “Culture is not an amorphous concept: it is at the heart of everything we do. To bring about any change you need to bring about cultural shift. Our efforts to embed culture into the long-term city development and the important milestones of reform and opening up to face our many challenges have also brought us confidence of a real economic regeneration to the city. This underlined that the ECoC title has a perspective which has a long-term legacy”.

The preparation of Sofia’s bid was tasked by the Municipal Council to Sofia Development Association (SDA), which has done a great job to coordinate and structure the process and provide easy ways for involvement. Thousands have taken part so far: 16,000 postcard ideas were received; 23,000 contribute to generate the content of the www.sofia2019.bg platform and this involvement is only the start.

The cities of Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil and Pernik are backing plans and we are grateful to the mayors, the local councils and the communities for their support. We also thank our European partners for their input to themes and programmes. We will continue together our work to make this exciting concept a reality”, declares Svetlana Lomeva, SDA Director.

Sofia’s programme concept is rooted in the city’s authenticity: imperfect but not sweeping problems under the carpet. We also believe that it is a fitting theme for a time of economic and social uncertainty in Europe. “The slogan we have chosen - Sharing Sofia – is based on the shared desire to address challenges, to solve problems, to challenge the status quo and formulate and investigate possible solutions. Its core is the collective action for common benefits, with respect to common pool resources. Sharing Sofia acts as a focal point for every cultural, economic and social agenda”, says Sevdalina Voynova, SDA Program Director.

The ECoC initiative offers Sofia a platform to strengthen its ties with and in Europe”, adds Malina Edreva, Sofia councilors and member of the Committee of the Regions.

After the bid submission the whole team of Sofia and the South-West Region will take part in the national press conference at 10:30 a.m. at the Ministry of Culture, Scene 17 Hall.