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Matera became the Cultural capital of Europe in 2019

Naples Slavonic 04.02.2019 at 09:05

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On the initiative of the European Union, a yearly Selection of the European capital of culture. In 2019, the choice fell on the ancient Italian city of Matera ( Basilicata region )

the Italian Matera held a ceremony of formal entry into the status of European cultural capital 2019. A Grand celebration was opened by a series of events that will take place in Matera for the next 12 months and expected to attract to the region more than a million guests, according to .

Photograph: mater © EPA/ROBERTO ESPOSTI

during the coming years in this city, whose history began during the Neolithic and continues in this digital age, exhibitions and activities designed to introduce the world to the culture of innovation revival of Matera.

the city's Inhabitants will take part in the production of "Purgatory", dedicated to Dante Alighieri and his "divine Comedy", written in the fourteenth century.

some 200 local residents will participate in the "Live Opera" (the Living Opera), in which, with the assistance of the oldest in Europe the current Opera house, Naples "San Carlo", under the open sky will be staged Opera of Pietro Mascagni "Cavalleria Rusticana".

"Stone city" of the stone age

mater is at the heel of the Italian "boot" – in the province of Basilicata. The city is primarily known for its "Sassi" – a unique stone houses located on a steep slope, their history goes back 9000 years. In 1993, this striking landscape has helped the city take place in the cultural heritage list of UNESCO.

the Festival "Matera 2019" will open the exhibition Ars Excavandi (World of stone) on stone art, architecture and archaeology of the city. The exhibition will allow visitors to go on a journey from the Paleolithic to the XXI-St century in various Matera's landmarks, including the catacombs of the underground city, as well as familiarity with fairy ecosystems of different continents.

the Installation "stratigraphy of the Observatory of the anthropocene" examines the new geological era that followed the Holocene, and watches for changes of the earth's resources and human activity. In addition, the installation allows an inside look into the early settlement of Matera – one of the oldest on Earth cities with continuous occupancy. Wrapping in future, the installation also introduces the science of observing the planet.

Thanks to the ancient quarters of the "Sassi", Matera was dubbed – "the Second Bethlehem", which, of course, not gone unnoticed by filmmakers, shooting. Here took place the shooting of "the passion of the Christ" and a remake of "Ben-Hur" for 2016, with participation of Morgan Freeman.

a tale of two renaissances

Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice. These cities became synonymous with the Italian Renaissance. However, paintings, sculptures, books, tapestries, maps and other vintage treasures from other regions of the South of Europe offer an alternative view of this period.

180 exhibits of the exhibition "Renaissance – a view from the South" shed some light on this most dynamic era of Western civilization from the point of view located in the South of Italy Matera and other Mediterranean cities in the XV-th and XVI-th centuries.

Though the rich collection of works of art from the Byzantine frescoes to the statues of the XVII-th century, to the 1950-th years of the mater fell into disrepair. The then Prime Minister of Italy decided to resettle the inhabitants of the city, about 16 thousand people in a modern house, leaving the Ghost town of lime stone awaiting new owners.

However, the spirit of Revival is not dead for decades. In the 1980s, the government began offering subsidies for the restoration of Matera. In town the enterprising young Italians. Local artisans have made the town his cave and opened a workshop under the arches of the caves. Some of them have revived the ancient art of making "cuckoo" – clay whistles in the shape of a Cockerel.

So began the modern Italian Renaissance, largely made possible thanks to the energy of local residents. Their success today can experience firsthand in everything from caves, converted to boutique hotels, to business incubators, museums, galleries and modern homes.