RIGA - The Culture Ministry has received nine Latvian cities and towns' applications for the status of the 2027 European Capital of Culture: Cesis, Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jekabpls, Jurmala, Kuldiga, Liepaja, Ogre and Valmiera.
The nine cities and towns will present their applications to an independent international jury next month, which will select candidates for the final round of the competition, the Culture Ministry's Public Relations Department told LETA.
Culture Ministry's State Secretary Dace Vilsone said that the European Capital of Culture was one of the most popular European initiatives. The initiative has two purposes - to protect and promote cultural diversity in Europe, she said.
The European City of Culture program was launched in the summer of 1985 with Athens being the first title-holder. In 1999, the program was renamed European Capital of Culture. In 2027, the European Capital of Culture will be hosted by two European Union member countries, Latvia and Portugal.
Each country will nominate, based on international and independent experts' opinion, one city that will be awarded the title of the European Capital of Culture.