The bidding process

Plovdiv was nominated for European Capital of Culture 2019 with a decision of the 13-members international jury on 5th of September 2014. The city won the title after a national competition with Sofia, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo.

The "Together" concept, which is in the basis of the of the application of Plovdiv, has been evaluated as a significantly important aspect of the development of the cultural and social life in the city.

It is outlined as an example of a successful combination of the historical heritage of the city and the challenges and problems of modern life, with a vision for future development. Highly appreciated in the concept "Together" was also the ambitious task people of different generations, ethnicities, and religions in Plovdiv and the South Central region to be united through culture.

On 19th of May 2015, the Council of Ministers of the European Union officially approved the decision of 5th in September 2014 and designated Plovdiv as European Capital of Culture 2019.

The Idea

The Decision of Plovdiv to apply for the title European Capital of Culture was born in 2010 when a group of artists and intellectuals gathered around the cause. Among them were some of the people who worked for the implementation of the European Cultural Month in Plovdiv in 1999. The initial idea comes from Art Today Association, from where were the first two members of the initiative committee which started the whole process - Jakob Racek – resident of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Plovdiv and Emil Mirazchiev - Chairman of the Art Today Association. Mariana Cholakova - Honorary Consul of Germany in Plovdiv, Desislava Shishmanova - Director of Bulgarian National Television - Plovdiv, Viktor Boychev - Director of State Puppet Theater - Plovdiv joined the committee. After signing of the Memorandum of support invited in the initiative committee are also Anastas Badev - former Deputy Mayor of Culture in Plovdiv, Penka Kalinkova - journalist and theatre critic, Lybozar Fratev - businessman and char of the Tourist Board in Plovdiv, Yohan Devletyan - head of the Cultural Department in Plovdiv Municipality. The Memorandum of support is available in the Documents section in our website. 

The Foundation

The initiative was supported by the local government and on 27th of September 2011, the Municipal Foundation "Plovdiv 2019" was established with the aim to organize and implement the ECoC project. At first, the Foundation's team composed five people, a little less than the number of the members of the first Board of Directors.

The Process

The process of preparing the application was an exciting period, filled with numerous meetings, conversations, and consultations with local and international organizations, institutions, cultural communities, and individuals. More than 35 creative teams apply with ideas in the first stage that shapes the conceptual framework of the programme. Some of them are embedded in the drafts of the bid book. The second stage was dedicated to the interaction with the artistic environment of Plovdiv and the inclusion of European partnerships. In March, April and May 2015, dozens of meetings were held with representatives of various organizations and citizens who are actively involved in building the programme.

The Teams

The people who were part of the two teams presenting in front of the International Jury the Plovdiv 2019 programme were: Ivan Totev, Genika Baycheva, Galya Stoyanova, Stefka Tsaneva, Martha Bozhikova, Radostina Georgieva, Manol Peykov, Ognian Isaev, Valeriy Kyorlinsky, Radost Ivanova, Plamen Panov, Laska Nenova, Georgi Stoev, Ljubo Georgiev. All of them had their crucial and significant role contributing to the development of the project either as part of the management and the team of the Foundation or as representatives of partner organizations.

The preparation for the European Capital of Culture Plovdiv 2019 is an important phase in the development of the city thus gradually building new cultural self-consciousness of its own citizens and communities. This is a process that provokes and changes, stimulates and strengthens Plovdiv and the region artistically, culturally, urges the urban reconstruction, the social integration, the business and tourism both nationally and on an international level.

Plovdiv won the title European Capital of Culture because of its balanced and well-presented programme, its realistic budget and due to:

  • The objective vision of the challenges facing the city
  • The number of the projects dedicated to schools and young people, including capacity-building and public development projects
  • Strong engagement and involvement of the city's social, economic and cultural interconnections and environment
  • The Cyrillic and Roma projects, which are part of the criteria for presenting the common markers of European cultures and their diversity
  • Supporting the development of the creative industries and the cultural sector at local, regional and a national level


General partners


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