This year we have three European Capitals of Culture (ECOC). Serbian Novi Sad, Lithuanian Kaunas and Esch in Luxembourg. The Serbian city of Novi Sad originally won the title for 2021 but its implementation was postponed to 2022 due to Covid -19. In the beginning of 2022 in all three cities the grand opening of the ECOC 2022 program has been prepared, which we can imagine as a winter festival of culture.
Novi Sad: Opening on the New Year Eve according to Julian calendar
With a good situation on the Hungarian-Serbian border, you can get to Novi Sad from Trenčín in six hours. This city on the Danube river is the capital of the province of Vojvodina, where Slovaks are the third most numerous nationality with a lively community and Slovak schools.
In communicating the opening of the European Capital of Culture 2022, Novi Sad focused on its diversity - writing in both Cyrillic and Latin, celebrating new year according to two calendars. The grand opening was scheduled for 13.1. - to celebrate the arrival of the new year 7530 according to the Julian calendar. They called it "Doček", which means "Welcome" and is used to welcome the new year.
A combination of science and art
The opening ceremony called Zeniteum:::2022 combined a light show, a musical-theatrical performance with elements of acrobatics. The main stage was the exterior of the architecturally significant modernist building Banovina palace.
The opening ceremony brought attention to the characters of two important Serbian scientists. Mathematician and physicist Mileva Marić Einstein, Albert Einstein's first wife, who had a significant influence on Einstein's work but remained unrecognised. And mathematician, astronomer, climatologist and popularizer of science Milutin Milanković. The surprise and highlight of the program was the greeting from astronauts from a space station.
The ceremony connected themes of art and science. As the avant-garde magazine Zenit once did. The magazine which inspired the name and the themes of the grand opening was published in the early 20th century in Yugoslavia with big names like Picasso, Kandinsky and Seifert as contributors. The ideas of Zenitism are still relevant today: humanism, peace, the creation of a new and united Europe.
The opening ceremony was complemented by performances by domestic and foreign artists as well as exhibitions. The exhibition Time and Universe also focused on the life and work of Milutin Milanković and among others discussed the topic of different time counting according to historical calendars.
The international touring multimedia exhibition EVROVISION Crossing stories and spaces was connected with the topic of diversity. It is a collection of stories from Europe focusing on the social and political situation, the search for a European identity and marginalized places and communities.
Photos: Novi Sad 2022