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21 July, 2024
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''Shine your light''

Embracing diversity in modern society



By Andros Karagiannis

Several European cities share similarities in building architecture, with central squares capturing visitors' attention. However, each city, including capital cities, boasts a unique history reflected in its grand structures, cathedrals, and fortifications erected primarily for population protection.

Timisoara, Romania, holds the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture for 2023. With a population of 300 thousand, the city is a melting pot of ethnicities, including Roma, Germans, Hungarians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Italians, and Greeks.

The city's rich history is palpable in every corner, evident in cultural events and the harmonious coexistence of diverse minorities.

Timisoara embraces multiculturalism with Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Lutherans, and Muslims fostering a society built on tolerance, brotherhood, insight, and acceptance.

The city attracts families with children for permanent settlement and around 40 thousand students for study, making it a vibrant hub of youth, energy, dynamism, and entrepreneurship.

Timisoara's appeal extends globally, drawing young people and couples eager to explore their ancestral roots.

The city's mayor, a German who fell in love with Timisoara 20 years ago as a visitor, now serves from the highest office. Most buildings date back to the 15th-19th centuries, reflecting the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian influences.

The city played a pivotal role in the 1989 rallies against the Ceausescu regime, culminating in the revolution that shook the nation.

Timisoara doesn't shy away from its challenging past; instead, it forms the foundation for its bid as the European Capital of Culture. Under the slogan 'Shine your light,' the city illuminates its glorious history, emphasizing the contributions of ethnic minorities.

The scars of the 1989 revolution remain visible on the city's buildings, attracting tourists to sites of historical significance. The gastronomy, resembling Italy and France, adds to the city's allure, with local wines gaining popularity among foreign buyers.

As Timisoara concludes its cultural festivities in December 2023, it anticipates welcoming over half a million visitors. More than 1,000 events, including concerts, exhibitions, and film screenings, are spread across the city and rural centers.

Collaboration with 30 countries showcases the city's cultural richness, supported by 2,000 volunteers with exceptional language skills.

Timisoara, often referred to as "Little Vienna" and the "City of Parks and Flowers," rightfully claims the title of European Capital of Culture for 2023.

Its commitment to multiculturalism, diversity, and the inclusion of ethnic minorities in policymaking, along with a focus on historical awareness, cements its place on the cultural map.

Mr. Andros Karagiannis is the mayor of Deryneia.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  mayor  |  Deryneia  |  Europe

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