Timișoara, Elefsina et Veszprém-Balaton… Discover the European Capitals of Culture 2023

© © Pe-Jo, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Esch2022 title year is about to come to an end. In 2023, the European Capital of Culture title will be awarded to three new European cities or regions: Timișoara  in Romania, Elefsina in Greece and Veszprém-Balaton in Hungary.


Over the centuries, Timișoara and the Banat region have flourished thanks to the energy and ingenuity of its citizens hailing from all over Europe. In fact, the city has been home to over 30 different nationalities for generations, who have been practicing their cultures and religions in peace and freedom.

Between 1880 and 1914, Timișoara was the largest industrial, commercial, financial and cultural city in the region, renowned for its artistic excellence in music, literature, painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as for its technical and scientific innovations.

Today, Timișoara is a vibrant city with over 40,000 students in eight universities, a dynamic creative sector and many prestigious cultural institutions.

Their motto for the European Capital of Culture 2023 project Shine your light! Light up your city! is an invitation to embark on a journey through light and darkness involving an often long and arduous process of personal development and transformation towards a collective consciousness.

The cultural programme of Timișoara 2023 – starting on 17 February 2023 – is therefore built around diversity, sustainable community development, the valorisation of cultural, economic and social actors, but above all around the inhabitants, the places where they live and meet and the way they create links between each other and with their environment, all in a contemporary European context.
The second European Capital of Culture 2023 is Elefsina, one of the five most important sacred cities of antiquity, located 21 km west of Athens. Since the 19th century, Elefsina has become the productive engine of Greece and one of its largest industrial centres. Just like the Esch2022 region, the city is marked by the traces of industrialisation. As a consequence, the city seems to keep its cultural wealth well protected, almost like a timeless mystery.

Therefore, the Eleusis 2023 project, which starts on 4 February 2023, aims to reveal this invisible side of Elefsina. It focuses on its dynamic cultural assets as well as on the innovative interconnection between art and sectors such as industry, science and technology.

The project focuses on four strategic objectives: The culture, the population, the city and the environment. It wants to illuminate the community spirit of the region’s population as inspired by the traditional Greek and European core values of freedom, dignity, democracy, equality and respect for human rights.
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In order to attract more cultural visitors and to promote creative activities through educational and infrastructural development, the third capital Veszprém-Balaton is organising a series of events starting on 21 January 2023.

The initial idea for this project was already formulated 100 years ago by László Komjáthy, the Mayor of Veszprém at that time. He was the first to write that the city of Veszprém could only maintain its cultural leadership in the region if it succeeded in reaching out beyond its borders. Today, this is the key phrase of the European Capital of Culture programme. In this spirit, Veszprém aims to implement its ambitious ideas and projects in collaboration with the entire Balaton region.

The concept of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 programme is called BEYOND. It represents a dialogue between citizens, artists, social workers, winemakers and farmers, families and children. Further, it will be the starting point for a new dialogue with Europe. The organisers are convinced that it is time to overcome or move “beyond” their provincialism, defeatism and indifference.