Liverpool has handed the baton to not one but two European Capitals of Culture for 2009 – Vilnius in Lithuania and Linz in Austria. Here is a low down on the two cities and some of the year’s highlights:
Compact and cute Vilnius is easy to explore on foot. It has the finest Baroque architecture north of Rome and a long ‘don’t miss’ list including the Gates of Dawn which features a gold-leaf image of the Virgin Mary, The Vilnius Picture Gallery, The KGB Museum, The Amber Museum gallery and naturally, a bronze bust of Frank Zappa!
This year there will be over 900 cultural events 60% of which are free.
February: Vilnius Book Fair 10th anniversary
May: Street Musician Day
June: National Art Gallery opening
November: LUX Festival of Lights
Linz sits in the Danube Valley and boasts architecture from medieval and gothic to baroque and Renaissance periods. It has plenty of large green parks including an impressive botanical garden. Linz is probably most famous as the location where Mozart composed his Linzer Symphony.
The Spitz Hotel was created specifically for the Capital of Culture; it is full of art and furniture by local artists and designers and students at Linz University were given free rein to design the entire fourth floor.
July: Pflasterspektakel – The 23rd International Street Art Festival
September: Media Art Festival
September / October: Brucknerfest and Klangwolke music festivals