XVIII International Forum of the Aquileia Euroregion

Mitteleuropa: many Capitals, one destiny
From the barbed wire to the thread of history

Udine – Gorizia – Trieste
28 September – 1 October 2022

On December 18, 2020, Nova Gorica-Gorizia were proclaimed European Capital of Culture 2025. This event represents a special opportunity for the surrounding urban area and the whole region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and of Slovenia. A moment to constrain within the memory of time that iron curtain which following the tragedies of the 20th century descended over those peoples that for a millennium had shared, although with diverse idioms, similar history and destiny. A chance for us to retrieve the thread of our History from the barbed wire. An unprecedented and unrepeatable event for us to reaffirm the extraordinary meeting function that both geography and history unequivocally assigned to this edge of Europe.

Since 2020, and starting with the anniversary of the fall of the Stato Patriarcale Friulano (1420), Mitteleuropa has worked to highlight the current relevance and magnitude of the Aquileian message within the Middle-European and Balkan context. It is for its historical functions within Christianity and as cultural mediator throughout history that Aquileia became an important European Capital. A role model for many capital cities, which will thereafter represent the ancient patriarchal area and farther beyond. Nowadays, many of these cities do not constitute State Capitals, but instead enlightened beholders and keepers of that shared cultural purpose which ably harmonized together Latins, Germans and Slavs; including the Jewish community, for centuries established here. We direct our attention towards these Capitals, with the aim of recognizing and valuing their perpetual function. These are Krakow, L’viv, Olomoc, Košice, Szeged, Veszprém, Rijeka, Salzburg, Kaunas, Maribor. An incomplete list, which nevertheless demonstrates the level and the amount of scientific, musical, literary, linguistic, ethnographic, and historical richness that we have been referring to. If we also want to consider the State Capitals of today (Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Lubiana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Bratislava), which for us are easily reachable within a few hours of driving, the result is a stimulating and enchanting scenario. Hence, we believe that in the event of GO! 2025, a “journey” inside the reality of the Capitals and to Gorizia (Aquileia) may be a valuable experience. Accordingly, 2022 represents the beginning of our journey aimed at reuniting together the representatives of the European Capitals of Culture from 2020 to 2026. 

A similar project demands commitment and abilities that no cultural entity could assume to execute autonomously. Indeed, the repercussions will be significant and will not only pertain the cultural sphere, but they will concern economy, tourism, infrastructures and logistics, and even international relations capabilities. An aspect, the latter, which is too often undervalued. For these reasons, we operate in close connection with the entities that are active part, with different competencies and roles, in this extraordinary challenge, namely: GECT-EZTS GO, ECOC – GO! 2025, Promoturismofvg, GIT Grado, Mittelfest, FVGOrchestra, Università di Udine, Ente Friuli Nel Mondo, Fondazione de Claricini Dornpacher.

The aim is to develop a lobbying activity dedicated to contacting the authorities and the organizations of all the future “European Capitals of Culture” which are incredibly numerous and all strictly related to the middle European area, namely Novi Sad- Serbia (2022), Veszprém – Hungary (2023), Bad Ischl – Austria (2024) and Tartu – Estonia (2024), Trencin – Slovakia (2026). The purpose is an invitation to Gorizia-Nova Gorica to begin weaving that net of relations between “Capitals”, which will represent an exceptional heritage for Gorizia and for the Region, and for Italy well beyond 2025. A “journey” of cultural, touristic, media and economic significance. For us, an unprecedented cultural intelligence challenge.

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