Ceske Budejovice To Be European Capital of Culture in 2028

In 2028, three cities will carry the title, the second being from France and the third from an allied country outside the EU. Photo credit: P Kabat / c-budejovice.cz.

Prague, June 30 (CTK) – Ceske Budejovice, the capital of the South Bohemia Region, will be the European Capital of Culture for the Czech Republic in 2028, representatives of the Culture Ministry and the selection jury told journalists today. It defeated the town of Broumov in the Hradec Kralove Region in the final of the domestic contest.

The title has been awarded by the European Union since 1985 to highlight the richness and diversity of European countries and promote the development of culture in title cities. In 2028, three cities will carry the title, the second being from France and the third from an allied country outside the EU.

In addition to Broumov and Ceske Budejovice, Liberec and Brno had also entered the Czech contest, with the two finalists selected by the jury last October.

The selection process for a cultural capital begins six years in advance. First, European and national experts draw up a list of potential candidate towns, from which they then select the one that will carry the title. Two Czech towns have held the title so far: Prague in 2000 and Plzen in 2015.

Today’s announcement of the result was met with loud cheers from the Ceske Budejovice team. “This is a unique project that might never be repeated in the history of Ceske Budejovice. The whole team has given it their best,” Ceske Budejovice Mayor Dagmar Skodova Parmova told CTK, adding that the hard work of completing the roughly 100-page project before 2028 would follow.

Culture Minister Martin Baxa (ODS) said that he knows the demanding process of preparing for the title from his own experience, having completed it as the mayor of Plzen before 2015.

Earlier this month, at a government meeting in Vimperk, Baxa successfully requested an increase to his ministry’s budget with a subsidy for the preparation of the European Capital of Culture 2028 project. The amount should be divided over six years, from 2024 to 2029, up to a maximum of CZK 480 million.

The European Commission is awarding the winning cities a cash prize of 1.5 million euros.

According to Jan Herget, director of the state agency CzechTourism, the title brings an average increase in GDP of 4.5% per capita, with the effect starting two years before the start of the cultural year itself and lasting up to five years after its end.

This year, the cities of Veszprem in Hungary, Elefsina in Greece and Temesvar in Romania are holding the title.

Ceske Budejovice, with nearly 100,000 inhabitants, a large square and regularly intersecting streets, was founded by King of Bohemia Premysl Otakar II on the confluence of the Vltava and Malse rivers around 1265. At the time, the Dominican monastery, now probably the most valuable local monument, was established on the western edge of the town, directly above the Vltava River.

From the very beginning, Ceske Budejovice enjoyed various privileges, including the right to brew beer, so the history of local brewing of beer, widely known as Budweiser, dates back to 1265. The Budvar brewery was founded in 1895 and is currently owned by the state.

In the 14th century the town grew in size and became the metropolis of southern Bohemia. In the following centuries, however, it suffered from wars, frequent fires and epidemics. A favourable turn in the town’s development came in the 19th century, when in 1832 a horse-drawn railway to Linz, Austria, set off from Budejovice, a unique means of transport at that time, not otherwise known on the European continent.

At the end of WWII in March 1945, Budejovice was the target of air raids by the U.S. air force, which caused considerable damage and loss of life. After the war, the once significant German minority population was expelled from the town.

Ceske Budejovice is the seat of the South Bohemian University and South Bohemian Theatre, and its popular exhibition centre is the venue of many important events. The historic centre of the town was declared a conservation area in 1980.

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