Faro Town Hall is hoping to capitalise on the Algarve region’s rich cultural diversity by being named European Capital of Culture in 2027. The decision is not due to be made until 2023, but the process – overseen by the European Commission – takes several years.
Officially announcing Faro’s candidacy, mayor Rogério Bacalhau said the council had been working on the project for over a year, studying what other cities had done, visiting former European capitals of culture, and working with the region’s partners.
He also stressed that, even though the candidacy criteria stipulated that an individual town rather than a region had to be nominated, Faro was keen for the whole Algarve to be closely involved with the project.
To that end, the bid is backed by regional institutions including the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL).
The official European Capitals of Culture website notes that the initiative is designed to:
- Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe
- Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share
- Increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area
- Foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities
In addition, the event is considered to be an excellent opportunity for:
- Regenerating cities
- Raising the international profile of cities
- Enhancing the image of cities in the eyes of their own inhabitants
- Breathing new life into a city’s culture
- Boosting tourism
European Capitals of Culture are formally designated four years before the actual year. “This long period of time is necessary for the planning and preparation of such a complex event. The panel, supported by the European Commission, has a continuing role during these four years in supporting European Capitals of Culture with advice and guidance and taking stock of their preparations.
“At the end of this monitoring period, the panel will consider whether to recommend or not that the European Commission pays the Melina Mercouri Prize (currently €1.5 million funded from the EU Creative Europe programme).”
The initiative was developed in 1985 and has been awarded to more than 50 cities across the European Union. The 2019 European Capitals of Culture are Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria).
Cities designated until 2023 are:
2020 – Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland)
2021 – Timișoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia)
2022 – Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch (Luxembourg)
2023 – Veszprém (Hungary)
To discover why the Algarve is considered one of the most culturally fascinating regions in Europe, check out our Area Guides section.