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Plzeň, Czech Republic: Metropolis of European Culture

One of the world's largest artistic carousels with giant puppets spun in Western Bohemian Plzeň in early September, beginning the city's transformation into the European Capital of Culture 2015.

Next year will be rich in extraordinary events in the Czech Republic. Traditional festivals and celebrations will be topped off in May by the World Championship in Ice Hockey. Meanwhile, West Bohemian Plzeň shall become the cultural capital of Europe. The project, which starts January 17, will offer more than fifty large shows and upward of six hundred other events during the year.

Le Manège Carré Sénart was transported to the Czech Republic in nine trucks, and opened to the public in early fall. The original carousel, with puppets by the French artist François Delarozière, gives visitors a small taste of what's to come in the grand program of the entire series of events "Plzeň - European Capital of Culture 2015."

The cultural feast begins in January and with it the new circus season
. The opening ceremony of the Plzeň 2015 project will include a new circus performed by top Swiss acrobat David Dimitri. The January ceremony on the square will be preceded by processions from the five parts of the city, inspired by the traditions of Plzeň, moving back to the cultural halls, pubs, or music clubs from the center for the evening celebrations.

Beyond the opening ceremony, the circus can be enjoyed throughout the entire year. The colorful circus tents will be spread in various neighborhoods of Plzeň, which will feature eight of the top ensembles from around the world. Acrobatics of the highest caliber will be offered in January by the French troupe Cirque Trottola, while their countrymen, the Famous Burattini Family, build their performances on rough street humor. The youngest representative of the new circus in Plzeň, the Magda Clan from Italy, shall combine a strong story with an incredible artistic performance. They are recent graduates from the circus school in Turin, brimming with energy and ideas, as evidenced by their performance ERA - Sonnet for Clown. In the summer, visitors will be entertained by the artistry of the Canadian troupe Cirque Alfonse, which complements their performances with live music. The final exclamation point of the new circus season will be the Acoreacro group, performing in Plzeň in early November.

Plzeň commemorates famous natives and presents the Maori treasure for the first time in Europe
Together, with the opening ceremony on January 17. The first profile exhibition features Jiří Trnka, world-renowned artist and director of animated films. The Czech native's exhibit includes an interactive exhibition of his book The Garden (Zahrada). Trnka will not be the only Plzeň native featured by the local gallery next year. For the first time in Europe, the valuable collection of Maori portraits by Bohumír Lindauer arrives. Lindauer, a painter who was born in Plzeň in the 19th century, is one of the important representatives of New Zealand art. Forty unique paintings will be exhibited next summer at the West Bohemian Gallery. The series of exhibitions devoted to the works of Ladislav Sutnar, one of the founders of the world of graphic design, is a must-see. A native of Plzeň, Sutnar emigrated to the United States in 1939, where he was awarded several design awards, including the prestigious Medal of the Association. The rich cultural year 2015 will also be complemented by an exhibition of the best painters of fin de siècle and European modernism, as well as West Bohemian baroque exhibitions.

The streets will be celebrating the end of the war, the factories will be filled with art.
 In the capital of beer, culture will be present at every step, not just in the galleries. In February, the streets of Plzeň will host a light art installation, which in May will be replaced by celebrations of the liberation of the city by the American army. The spectacular parade will be reminiscent of the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II. In the summer months, selected monuments from the Plzeň region of music, dance, theater, and even fireworks in the baroque style will come to life again. The nine-week festival aims to draw attention to West Bohemian architectural treasures of the decorative art direction.

Art is also dominated by industrial buildings in the form of a series of events held under the name Factories of Imagination. In the space of the former power station, there will be an exhibition of contemporary European design in April, as well as a program in the former paper mill or the empty transport company depot. In addition, a new theater for 650 spectators will be opened, which at the time of cultural presidency will bring a prestigious cultural venue for the International Theatre Festival, part of the opening ceremony, as well as several productions.

For more information, contact Barbora Skokanova, travel trade manager at CzechTourism in Los Angeles at [email protected], or visit

 Photo courtesy of Georgi Lazarevski.

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