The concept of Brasov – 2021 European Capital of Culture


“For a city and for a country, geographical location is what used to be the vision of the ancient, the judgement of parcels in the fleeting life of people” Nicolae Orghidan, Brasov City, The geographical position, in “Tara Barsei”, November – December 1933.

The analysis of the cultural consumption habits in the public areas indicates that the citizens of Brasov are very fond of the outdoor relaxation and enjoyment areas and of the natural surroundings that safeguard their lives. This very fact was the starting point in choosing the concept of Brasov 2021 – European Capital of Culture, taking into account the number of candidates in this European cultural project. Brasov is a mountain city and the citizens of Brasov are mountain people. Their lives are both dominated and shielded, physically and intellectually, by the sheltering presence of the mountains surrounding them. Tampa is the most pivotal mountain in the life of the citizens of Brasov. Tampa has been the political, social and cultural barometer of the community living at its foot, from the beginning of its history, when the Transylvanian Saxons built the “Brasovia” fortress, to the 19th century, when the citizens of Brasov, together with the whole of Europe, discovered mountain tourism; from the “invasion” of symbols that started with “St. Leonard’s” Chapel and continued with the statue celebrating the Hungarian Millennium, and the Hollywood-style placement of the names Stalin and Brasov on Tampa mountain.

Brașovul actual știe că nu are meritele necesare unei Capitale Europene a Culturii, însă știe că are mare nevoie de cel mai frumos titlu pe care îl poate primi un oraș. Acest titlu reprezintă pentru brașoveni mai mult decât o sărbătoare a culturii europene. Brașovul are nevoie de o schimbare majoră în viața sa și invită astăzi Europa să construiască împreună Capitala Europeană a Culturii 2021. Brașovul, singurul oraș de munte din România candidat la titlul de Capitală Europeană a Culturii, propune Europei 2021 un concept cultural apropiat tuturor europenilor: Civilizația Muntelui.

Apart from being a place of refuge, prayer and homage, for over a century now, Tampa is also the “recreational park” for the citizens of Brasov as well as a tourist attraction. The Postavaru Massif is the second mountain close to the heart of the citizens of Brasov. It is higher yet more remote than Tampa, and it represented the tourist exploration of the mountain, marking the cultural transition into Modern Age. The initial hiking trails were first traced by Brasov citizens, over 100 years ago. In a Romantic Era, Postavaru became the symbol of discovery and boldness. During the same time, Brasov became the pioneer of winter sports in Eastern Europe and founded the first ski association on what is today’s territory of Romania (1905).

Later on, during communism, the Postavaru Massif ski slopes sponsored the development of “the pearl of Romanian mountain tourism”, i.e. Poiana Brasov; recently, it has hosted the most important international winter sports event organized so far in Romania, i.e. the 2013 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival. Moreover, Postavaru, also called “Schuler”/Pupil’s mountain by the Transylvanian Saxons, is the mountain of the youth. The glade situated at its foot (Poiana Brasov) was the place where pupils rejoiced “in songs and good spirits”, right from the beginning of the 18th century.

Therefore, the MOUNTAIN is the theme that inspires the Brasov 2021 – European Capital of Culture project.

The connection between the cultural behaviour of the citizens of Brasov and the geographical location of the city represents more than just a concept or an artistic vision. This lasting „partnership” between culture and nature is the confirmation of the time-honoured passion for mountain of the citizens of Brasov; it is also a cherished and unique bond with the local development of mountain sports, a ground-breaking cultural approach, a reassurance for the local community that spending time outdoors does not exclude culture and an additional boost for Brasov’s ambition of becoming the green capital of Europe; more importantly, it is Brasov’s contribution to the concept of contemporary European culture and an invitation to rediscover the European civilisation of the mountain.

Yes, in 2021, Brasov City invites Europe to celebrate the MOUNTAIN! In 2021, Europeans, regardless of the altitude they live at, will understand and enjoy the MOUNTAIN CIVILISATION!

European artists will repeat an experience, lived for hundreds of years by the European culture: The Mountain inspires! European citizens will (re)discover an experience, lived for hundreds of years by the European nations: Culture breaths! In 2021, Brasov City will show Europe that when the Mountain inspires, the Culture breaths! – from the green cultural areas, to the white North and blue South.