Timisoara, the successful cultural capital of Europe

2023-10-23 08:53:25, Kuriozitete CNA
Timisoara, the successful cultural capital of Europe
Timisoara, capital of European culture 2023

There are many activities in the old town of Timisoara in Romania. Tourists fill the streets and squares of the city. They photograph restored houses, churches and palaces. School classes gather around their teachers, who briefly explain the history of the city. Men and women rush to conferences or festivals or sit in roadside cafes and restaurants. The cultural capital's rich cultural offerings and autumnal summer temperatures are a magnet for people from near and far. From the different languages ??they speak, it is clear that many of them come from abroad. Especially German is heard everywhere.

Timisoara, the successful cultural capital of Europe
The historical part of the city, Timisoara in Romania

In May 2023, an honored guest came from Germany to Timisoara: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "It was actually the first visit by a German-speaking head of state since Emperor Franz Joseph, so we were very proud," recalled mayor Dominic Fritz in an interview with DW. "Timi?oara is one of the most important cities in Romania and therefore deserves attention The reaction of the German President and his delegation made it clear once again that the contribution of cities like Timisoara to our united Europe is more valued than ever."

Timisoara is one of the three European capitals of culture for 2023, along with Veszprém in Hungary and Elefsin in Greece.

Concerts and theater festivals

Timisoara, the successful cultural capital of Europe

The organizers, the city and its citizens have reason to be satisfied. With over 800 cultural events in the last nine months, the capital of culture 2023 was and is a complete success. The highlights have been the big concerts, including the Enescu Festival concert series and the performance of rock songs by Arnold Schënberg. Two orchestras and six choirs, with a total of about 450 musicians from Timisoara and the German partner city of Gera participated. Music director Gabriel Bebeselea spoke of "generational works" that some people can "see only once in their lives".

Another highlight was the European theater festival Eurothalia, organized by the German State Theater Timisoara under the motto "Perspective". Theater professionals from eleven countries asked themselves questions, for example: How to distinguish right from wrong, how easy it is to be manipulated, for example in relation to Putin's war in Ukraine? How to deal with artificial intelligence? Or our planet, when it comes to climate change, or the media? And how to solve problems like poverty and the lack of workers qualified?

Timisoara is characterized above all by its multiculturalism. For example, four important cultural institutions in three languages ??are located in a single building: the Opera House, the Romanian National Theater and the German and Hungarian State Theatres.

The German mayor of Timisoara, Dominic Fritz, who comes from Schwarzwald and has been in office since autumn 2020, recalls his first visit to the city: "When I was 19 years old, exactly 20 years ago, I came to Timisoara for the first time first, I was fascinated by how this city had managed to turn its cultural diversity into a source of innovation," he says in an interview with DW. "Different cultures and perspectives always bring new ideas. Because where there is homogeneity, new ideas cannot appear." Because of this diversity, Timisoara has always benefited economically. As a young man, he was also fascinated by the history of the Romanian revolution of 1989, which started in Timisoara. People bravely took to the streets for their freedom and dignity and to overthrow the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

German theater in Timisoara

Timisoara, the successful cultural capital of Europe
Theater hall in Timisoara, Romania

Theater director Lucian Varsandan and his deputy and artistic director at the German State Theater of Timisoara (DSTT), Rudolf Herbert, emphasized to DW the role of German cultural institutions despite the dramatic decline of the German minority during the Ceausescu dictatorship and later immediately after reunification. It is important to preserve the multilingual traditions of this region. Interest in German culture also remains high. With 26 permanent actors in the ensemble, the theater produces six to seven new plays per season. The parts are not intended only for a German-speaking audience, so they are equipped with subtitles.

There is also great interest in pieces that deal with the history of the region, such as the co-production "Sidy Thal" with the Bucharest Jewish State Theatre. It is about an assassination attempt on a Jewish theater troupe in the Timisoara theater in 1938. The piece was written by the city's writer for that year, Thomas Perle. The Romanian-born author was recently awarded the Nestroy award. After a stage reading in the city center synagogue at the Eurothalia Festival, the premiere is scheduled for November 4, 2023.

The docudrama "People for Sale" by Carmen Lidia Vidu was also a great success. Based on the accounts of contemporary witnesses, it deals with another dark chapter of recent history: the sale of Romanian Germans by the Ceausescu regime to the Federal Republic of Germany.

Timisoara, the successful cultural capital of Europe
Romania: View from Timisoara with neoclassical buildings

New talents

Young talents in the country's two German schools, (in Sibiu/Hermanstadt there is a German branch of the Radu Stanca National Theatre) are provided by the German-speaking gymnasium Nikolaus-Lenau and the German acting school at the University of Timisoara with students from Romania and Germany, the only drama school in German outside German-speaking countries. It organizes the "Network" festival, which from November 10, 2023 will invite many theater schools from Europe to Timisoara.

Timisoara, the successful cultural capital of Europe
Timisoara in Romania as a magnet for tourists

A magnet for the public is the recently opened exhibition of the works of one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, Constantin Brancusi. Most of the exhibits come from the artist's former studio at the Pompidou Center in Paris.

The European Capital of Culture should help the city and the region to achieve sustainable development beyond the festive year. Mayor Dominic Fritz is convinced: "I hope that this attention, these spotlights falling on Timisoara from the media and tourists, will also benefit us in the long term and that culture will continue to be an economic basis for this city."/ DW

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