Baton picked up by city rich in traditions

Gomel transfers honorary status of Belarus’ cultural capital to Nesvizh

By Nikolay Anisimov

The project was launched in 2010, with Polotsk becoming the country’s first cultural capital; it was followed by Gomel in 2011, which hosted 12 festivals and 27 concerts by national and foreign groups this year, as well as over 80 exhibitions. Never before have ballet, opera, operetta and variety performances been so richly presented in the city, which boasts a population of half a million.

The ceremony of transferring the honorary status to Nesvizh included a summary of Gomel’s achievements. Artists from various genres appeared on Gomel’s stage — from circus performers to cembalists. Nesvizh, with its 14,000 population, has a high bar to match. Applause for Gomel was spontaneous in the packed hall.

We can certainly expect a wonderful schedule of events from Nesvizh for next year, as the Culture Ministry stresses. The honour not only allows local residents the chance to experience amazing performances; it will encourage guests to visit the town, promoting it as a tourist venue. Its Muses of Nesvizh Festival, as well as opera and ballet nights at the Radziwill Palace will delight audiences. Undoubtedly, the castle is the major cultural resource of the town, with four halls now open to the public and 40 rooms still being revamped. By 2012, it will be fully open.

Belaruss’ Deputy Culture Minister, Tadeush Struzhetsky, believes that one of the major results of the Cultural Capital of Belarus project is the enhancement of high cultural standards. He explains, “This project is vital to the country. Each year, we acquire new experience. Those towns becoming cultural capitals can find their own ways of revealing their unique character. Nesvizh must consider seriously how to do this beautifully and worthily.”

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