The time has come. Istanbul is now officially the 2010 European Capital of Culture.
Through various activities and festive celebrations held on 16 January 2010 in 7 different centres of the city, Istanbul celebrated its new title as 2010 ECOC. The celebrations started with a protocol event taking place at the Haliç Congress Centre, with Ministers from Turkey as well as neighbouring countries participated, along with high level statesmen and diplomats, leading members of the business, culture and arts world, local and foreign press members, and went on together with all of Istanbulites in the squares of Taksim, Kadıköy, Sultanahmet, Pendik, Bağcılar and Beylikdüzü.
The opening speeches were followed by the special performance called “The Magic of Istanbul,” choreographed specifically for this special night by Yekta Kara. The performance of 65 minutes presented 303 artists exposing a multi-layered and profound cultural heritage, the sources of energy and inspiration in Istanbul, through the music, dance, poetry and visions peculiar to Istanbul. For the joy of all Istanbul residents different programs were running simultaneously to the ceremony in Haliç. DJ performances, dance and music shows met with Istanbullites in the squares of Taksim, Kadıköy, Pendik, Sultanahmet, Beylikdüzü and Bağcılar until late hours of the night.
One of the biggest surprises of the night was the Fire Theatre realized in Taksim and the Balloon Theatre realized in Kadikoy. In these shows staged by Group F of France, they used the sky as their stage, giving Istanbulites unforgettable joy through their light and music shows. After the sound and light shows in Haliç started, the enthusiasm for 2010 was amplified through concerts taking place in six different squares across Istanbul. Renown Turkish artists who have also successfully represented Turkey in international arenas met with Istanbullites; Tarkan in Taksim, Mor ve Ötesi in Kadıköy, Nil Karaibrahimgil in Beylikdüzü, Mercan Dede in Sultanahmet, Kıraç in Pendik and Zara in Bağcılar.
For those who are now in Istanbul, you can find all the informations about events, exhibitions and concerts on the official website of Istanbul ECOC. You must know that you’re extremely lucky to be here… :) if I had the chance to be there this week, I probably wouldn’t stop going ’round for hours, from morning until late night. Expect to visit wonderful exhibitions, to enjoy great concerts and please, don’t waste the opportunity to see how active is the turkish cultural life. Then, of course, if you want share with us your experiences here! We’ll be very pleased to enjoy with you these magic events.