As the region where national culture historically underwent the most intense development, Vidzeme is sometimes poetically referred to as the cradle of Latvian culture. Today it is also the region where cultural traditions have been best preserved. The region is unique in terms of its high quality natural and landscape assets. Which have shaped and will continue to drive the development of Cēsis and its neighbouring cities.
Cēsis – a comparatively small city in European terms – has, over the years, grown into one of the leading Latvian cities, focusing on developing an active cultural centre outside of Riga, the capital of Latvia. Cēsis has repeatedly proved on a national scale that, by daring to set challenging targets, significant results can be achieved. Such achievement is thanks to particularly enthusiastic participation in the preparation work for significant cultural projects and in the actual events themselves by the population, for instance, organising the 800th Anniversary Celebration of Cēsis, included in the UNESCO calendar of events for 2006. Since 2007 Cēsis has hosted the annual Cēsis Arts Festival, the largest officially recognised festival of professional arts in Latvia.
As roughly half of the Latvian population lives in the capital – Riga – or its vicinity, bringing to life the European Capital of Culture project in the Vidzeme region would
* contribute to decentralisation in keeping with the Latvian and European guidelines on balanced development of territories;
* highlight the region’s identity, increasing its competitiveness and raising its profile internationally.
The emotional objective sought by Cēsis is to outline the ways in which the small can become great. It will be a story told by Cēsis to Latvia and, simultaneously, by Latvia to Europe; after all, in terms of Europe Latvia occupies a position similar to that of Cēsis on the Latvian scale: not centrally located and comparatively sparsely populated, yet cultured, educated, self-confident and purposeful. Thus Cēsis in association with the Vidzeme region would like to reinforce the significance and impact of the culture and creativity of the smaller regions within Europe
By taking part in the contest, Cēsis and Vidzeme would like to challange the average European to rediscover the meaning of culture, cultural values and his / her place in the cultural process: the making, the bringing to life and evaluation thereof. Cēsis wants the European to be an active creator and evaluator of culture, a carrier of culture in the wider sense of the word, not merely a consumer.
The guiding principle for Cēsis lies in the idea that culture is the best measure of all things. To create and truly enjoy culture, a measured and relaxed pace of life is necessary, time for reflection and experiencing. The frenzied rhythm and fast entertainment typical of big cities considerably limit the chances of this necessity being met. Cēsis and Vidzeme are the perfect place for creation and enjoyment of culture. The region boasts a genuine and historic reputation for recreation for both the spirit and the body. It helps people find harmony with themselves and their surroundings.
Source: Cesis Local Municipality