Rzeszów as a candidate
Rzeszów – European Capital of Culture. Yes, we can.
The title of the European Capital of Culture is awarded to two or three cities from the European Union member states and cities from candidate states. Cities that receive the title become animators of cultural life throughout the EU for 12 months and present their offer and heritage on the international arena.
Cooperation is our strength
Rzeszów is the largest city in south-eastern Poland, and centuries-old history has left its mark on its heritage, creating a unique cultural image. In the era of increasingly loud opinions about the exhaustion of the existing, slightly ossified world order, both Rzeszów and the entire region can be proud of the presence of a becoming a cultural melting pot.
Thanks to its strategic location, Rzeszów naturally cooperates with other centers of the region, creating a network of diverse events and cultural venues. It is enough to mention a historical monument - the castle and park complex in Łańcut - a magnificent magnate residence, one of several in the region, where the renowned Music Festival in Łańcut has been held for several decades. The Historical Museum in Sanok, on the other hand, attracts the lovers of the extraordinary painting and photographic work of Zdzisław Beksiński from all over the world.
Rzeszów - the capital of the Podkarpackie region, is also a gateway to the nearby Carpathian Mountains, which dazzle with wonderful nature, but also hide treasures of wooden architecture, especially temples, six of which have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The oldest of them dates back to the 14th century. The Carpathians are also a magnet for filmmakers who locate their productions here. "Corpus Christi", shot almost entirely in picturesque Jaśliska, and "EO" were nominated for an Oscar.
The Podkarpackie region is also full of living traditions that inspire contemporary artists, as was the case with one of the most famous contemporary Polish architects - Krzysztof Ingarden, who collaborated with craftsmen from the area of Rudnik nad Sanem in the construction of the award-winning Polish pavilion at Expo 2005 in Japan .
Cultural and artistic ferment
Walking through the narrow, now beautifully renovated streets of Rzeszów's old town, looking for a moment of rest under the arcades of the town hall and enjoying the view of the intricately decorated tenement houses of the former Rzeszów townspeople, it is worth bearing in mind that many centuries of history of Rzeszów, Poland and the world look at us from all sides, from every window, every door or every gate.
The fate of the city meant that for centuries the influences of various nationalities, ethnic groups and religions intertwined here. Thus, the history and culture of Rzeszów were built by Poles, Ruthenians, Jews, Germans and Armenians. Polish inhabitants of Volhynia, the Vilnius region and the vicinity of Lviv, fleeing the atrocities of war, also found their place on earth here. Rzeszów welcomed all of them with open arms, and they, in turn, repaid the city by giving it the element of their native lands in the form of traditional rituals, customs and culture. In 2022, history has come full circle. Rzeszów once again became a city rescuer, which, at the peak of the crisis, having alone 200 000 inhabitants, provided safe haven for 100 000 refugees.The integration process has started anew.
Rzeszów for Europe
The heritage and achievements of the former inhabitants of the city influenced the culture of not only Rzeszów. Many times they resonated far beyond the borders of the city, Podkarpackie region or even Poland. Lovers of contemporary theater come to Rzeszów for the "Sources of Memory" festival, dedicated to the works of Kantor, Szajna and Grotowski and their influence on world theater trends. Tomasz Stańko, a world-famous jazz trumpeter looks at the visitors of Hetmańska Street in Rzeszów from a huge mural and invites them to his Birthday Toast, which is organized annually near the Multimedia Fountain. The music festival "Rzeszów Breakout Days" is dedicated to the work of Tadeusz Nalepa, Mira Kubasińska and their band Breakout. The richness of folklore and folk culture is reflected in the activities of numerous song and dance bands, as well as in the World Festival of Polish Folk Ensembles organized every three years, the first edition of which took place in 1969. Diverse nationalities, ethnic groups and religions that have influenced the shaping the city for centuries, resulted in a unique, local cultural atmosphere. Today, this heritage is manifested in the interdisciplinary festival Rise of Eastern Culture - European Stadium of Culture, which combines various forms of art, music and performance, with the participation of artists from Poland, Europe and beyond.
We Are the City
Rzeszów is an exceptionally attractive place to live and conduct artistic and cultural activities for a large number of artists, both the ones who have the status of recognized and appreciated artists, as well as for beginners who have their greatest successes ahead of them. This can be proved, among others, by the Social Council for Culture, established in 2021 by the Mayor of the City of Rzeszów, which associates almost 200 artists.
Numerous public and private cultural institutions as well as foundations and associations operate in the city. They have chosen to promote various forms of artistic expression and popularize culture. What is worth emphasizing, organizers of cultural life, creators and artists pay special attention to the issues of equality and accessibility of culture. The cultural offer of the city is free from any prejudice and is addressed to everyone, regardless of their origin, skin color, religion, political views or beliefs.
Thanks to this, the citizens and visitors can witness the most avant-garde manifestations of contemporary artistic activity. Performance art, photography, street art and finally music in its most desired by the audience – bottom-up and natural form are constantly present in the urban space of Rzeszów. Every year, dozens of exhibitions, theatrical performances, concerts and music festivals take place in the city, among which everyone will find an offer that meets their needs and interests. The development of interest in culture, as well as their own talent, is ensured by the employees of numerous cultural institutions who take care of future artists, whose facilities are located in almost every neighbourhood in Rzeszów. After all, easy access to culture is one of the most strongly emphasized postulates regarding smart cities, where one wants to live or is willing to visit.
Cities are created by people, so the ECoC title is an ideal opportunity to build collective support around a common idea.