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Rīga officially starts its European Capital of Culture programme

Rīga officially starts its European Capital of Culture programme

Rīga has officially become the European Capital of Culture in 2014. The opening weekend of the Rīga 2014 programme passed with a grand array of festivities and creative events all over the capital of Latvia.

More than 14 000 people participated in the Chain of Book Lovers campaign in the afternoon of January 18 to move over 2000 books, from hand to hand, from the old building of the Latvian National Library to its new one, the striking structure calledCastle of Light. Despite temperatures of -12°C, the campaign gathered more people than expected, with spectators and passers by joining the chain. The positive atmosphere remained constant for all five hours of the 2014 m long chain.

The Rīga Central Market and its pavilions presented the opportunity to “taste” the entire 2014 programme, filled with video installations, live music, choirs and theatrical performances. Each of the market’s four pavilions transformed to represent a different chapter of the Rīga 2014 programme, while the International Coach Station next to the market became a stage for a piano concert of Bach’s best known pieces by famous Latvian pianists.

Meanwhile several exhibitions were also unveiled during the opening programme. Amber Through the Ages, from geology of the gem to its use in technology, 1914, showing the impact of WW1 on culture as interpreted by artists in the countries which were born as a result of the war and the video documentation Entre Temps (between time) and creative project Archives du Coeur (archive of heartbeats), in which every visitor will have the chance to participate by renowned French artist Christian Boltabnski.

The World Fire Sculpture Championship provided for an unforgettable show as participants from 12 countries competed each other, setting their amazing wooden sculptures ablaze. The evening’s grand finale at the banks of river Daugava right in the heart of Rīga undisputedly was the musical light show with fireworks. The closing event of the day was the concertRīga Dimd! (Riga Resounds) in Arēna Rīga, featuring famous Latvian artists in a mix of classical, folk, pop and choir music.

Rīga will continue hosting cultural events of the highest class throughout the year 2014, which will not only be contained in the premises of theatres, the opera, showrooms and the like, but also in Rīga’s vast and versatile neighborhoods.

For more information visit – www.riga2014.org

Text: Latvian Institute 2014 ©