Now more than ever Mytilene and the whole Greek island of Lesvos is facing one of the turning points of modern history. Its geographical location makes it by default one of the main gateways for refugees and migrants seeking to enter European soil.
“During this difficult time we considered it necessary to resist,” noted the island’s residents. Lesvos has always been a place for poets and musicians, full of natural beauty, monuments, amazing architecture, traditions, gastronomy and the famous geopark. Therefore, it was only logical for the municipality to request to be considered for one of Europe’s most esteemed titles, that of Cultural Capital for 2021.
The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for one year, during which the city is given the opportunity to showcase its culture and its cultural development. Several European cities have used this opportunity to transform their cultural base and their image.
In 1985, Greek actress and Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri, along with her French counterpart Jack Lang came up with the idea of designating an annual Capital of Culture to bring Europeans closer together by highlighting the richness and diversity of European cultures and raising awareness of their common history and values. The Commission of the European Union manages the title and each year the Council of Ministers of the European Union formally designates European Capitals of Culture.
This is a chance for Mytilene and the island to shine, once again, not only as the capital of Solidarity but also as the European Capital of Culture,” noted Mercouri.