The Opening Ceremony of Pilsen as the European Capital of Culture

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Press release
19. 1. 2015
The Opening Ceremony of Pilsen as the European Capital of Culture
was attended by 25,000 spectators despite bad weather. The event ran smoothly
without any incidents.
The weekend of 16 to 18 January saw Pilsen opened as European Capital of Culture for 2015. The
spectacular Opening Ceremony on Saturday, directed by the project’s Artistic Chief Petr Forman,
was watched by 25,000 spectators on Republic Square and surrounding streets and parks despite
the bleak weather. The programme ran all day on Friday and on Saturday evening and then into
the night as dozens of clubs, restaurants and cafés offered a rich programme. All events welcomed
a high number of visitors, for example guided city tours were joined by 500 visitors, St.
Bartholomew’s Cathedral was completely packed for an organ concert by Adam Viktora and dance
evenings in Měšťanská Beseda and KD Peklo were sold out.
"We experienced a special day on Saturday as Pilsen became a centre of culture in Europe. And the
high rate of participation in processions and on the Square showed that Pilseners have accepted the
project. The Opening Ceremony became a lovely way to start the year, with various interesting events
and projects ahead of us," says the First Deputy Mayor, Martin Baxa. “We tried to display high quality
and to bring emotions and it worked. I am happy that the project is starting to attract tourism. This
time last year, one travel agency had orders for ten busloads from Germany. This year there are two
hundred,” adds Director Jiří Suchánek. The opening was attended by a number of guests and political
figures, such as the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the Minister for Culture Daniel Herman, the EU
Commissioner Věra Jourová, many ambassadors and other guests.
The opening ceremony started with the arrival of four processions that had been prepared for six
months by thousands of people. It continued with an impressive spectacle including the biggest video
mapping in the country’s history – combining historical Pilsen motifs and modern design, the crossing
of the Square on a 240-metre-long rope by the Swiss tightrope artist David Dimitri, acrobatics and
dance on a catwalk in the centre of the Square, a giant puppet, an original music score and the first
sounding of the new cathedral bells. The emotional show moved on to a concert by David Koller and
his band, which was opened by Jiří Suchý and Dan Bárta. "I am happy; the stress has eased. I would
like to thank the huge number of people who worked on the opening ceremony for taking it to a
successful conclusion. I also thank people from the city and the region who trusted us and didn’t
restrict our work," sums up the Artistic Chief, Petr Forman.
The excited reactions of visitors to the opening ceremony are backed up by the words of one foreign
visitor, James Stafford: “It was a great show with dance, music, visual art and performances. My trip
from London to Pilsen was worth it. The city of Pilsen can be proud of their opening evening and I
can’t wait to visit other events throughout the year.”
The Swiss tightrope artist and acrobat David Dimitri, who during the opening ceremony of the
European Capital of Culture opened the circus season in Pilsen, will perform his ten solo family shows
combining acrobatics, gags, tension and entertainment in the tent on Republic Square starting on 23
January. It is no problem for this fifty-one-year old artist to be shot out of a cannon or walk along a
thin wire at great heights.
The weekend programme was also watched with interest by the media; there were more than 240
domestic and foreign journalists in attendance, and Czech Television dedicated a whole edition of
Studio 6 to Pilsen and also offered thematic blocks and live reports, and broadcasted the opening
ceremony in its entirety. Czech Radio broadcasted from a mobile studio on Republic Square.
The whole event passed without any security problems. Paramedics treated eight light injuries; five
other people who received treatment were subsequently taken to hospital. “The Czech Police
released information that they had not recorded any serious unlawful activities. The Police and their
officers assisted in transport coordination for ambulances, specifically on Františkánská Street, and
delivered a ninety-eight-year old lady from the residential care home on Hlavanova Street to the
representatives of the Municipal Charity," adds Aleš Průša from the Security and Prevention
Department of Pilsen Municipal Council. Police dealt with one traffic offence which did not affect the
event. One child became lost during the evening but was immediately returned to his parents.
During the press conference regarding the opening, a cooperation agreement between the
government organisation CzechTourism and the local organisation Pilsen – TOURISM was signed.
“The agreement deepens the existing collaboration and responds to the high tourist potential of the
ECoC project. CzechTourism thereby officially declares that Pilsen as the European Capital of Culture
2015 will become one of the main communication themes within Czech marketing activities of tourist
destinations, mainly abroad. We will try, with the help of targeted promotion of foreign markets, to
convince tourists from around the world about the uniqueness of this region,” said Monika Palatková,
the Director General of CzechTourism
For this occasion, a special coin dedicated to the Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015 project
was introduced. “The coin contains significant Pilsen attributes – an angel found on the railings of St.
Bartholomew’s Cathedral on Republic Square in Pilsen which Pilseners believe brings luck, and a bell
which became the symbol of society-wide support for the effort of the Pilsen diocese to return the
bells to the church tower,” adds Michal Spurný, the director of the company Trustworthy which coissued the coin together with the City of Pilsen and Pilsen 2015. The graphic work was done by the
Mincovna Kremnica studio and the author is Roman Lugár.
Contacts:
Radovan Auer, Director of Communication of Pilsen 2015
+420 602 255 546
[email protected]
Mirka Reifová, PR Manager of Pilsen 2015
+420 606 090 801
[email protected]
You can download press quality photos
http://www.plzen2015.cz/cs/pro-media/fotogalerie
from
the
Opening
Ceremony
at
Download
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