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News, 09/09/2010

Darkness - a positive resource for Capital of Culture Turku

The Turku Capital of Culture programme examines the familiar Nordic periods of darkness from a positive perspective. The programme has identified 876 shades of darkness, challenging the participators to face both culture and darkness with an open mind. Darkness is not serious and gloomy; it is a source of strength, inspiration and warmth. We want to show how people live and laugh amidst the darkness from late autumn to early spring.

The Newsweek analysis published in August evaluated Finland as the best country in the world. In general, the Nordic countries ranked well in the study, which was partly contributed to the darkness and coldness of the climate. People living in the Nordic darkness focus their energy in creativity, stability and intimacy.

The programme for 2011 shows how people live and laugh amidst the darkness. (photo: Visit Finland)The programme for 2011 shows how people live and laugh amidst the darkness.

Capital of Culture Turku will shed light to the darkness by offering culture on every day throughout the year 2011. The Turku Capital of Culture programme is all about culture in the broadest meaning of the word.

For example, the traditional sauna, beloved by all Finns, will be introduced to the central urban Turku scenery with a sauna floating on the River Aura. Elsewhere, a story dating back to the dark Middle Ages uncovers the tale of Amazon warrior princesses, waging war and love on the Baltic Sea. During the Capital of Culture year, the epic story is turned into an opera, performed at the actual historical location in the courtyard of Turku Castle.

Respectively, fighting and combat sports, dramatic storylines and the peculiar music by world famous accordion artist Kimmo Pohjonen will be merged as a unique spectacle of giant proportions during the dark autumn nights. What would it feel like going to a bar or a theatre performance in complete darkness?

The programme features, for example, the world-renowned Finnish media artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila, the top name in Finnish contemporary dance Tero Saarinen with his ensemble, mezzo-soprano Monica Groop, director Kristian Smeds and the gay art icon Tom of Finland.

Culture caters for all senses

Despite the season of the year, Turku brightens mundane everyday life with contemporary photography, circus and opera. People with an open-minded attitude can increase their well-being with cultural exercise or with a heavy metal musical, for example. In 2011, culture caters for all senses. For instance, wonderful food will make people feel good at the virgin potato festivals that celebrate the gift Europeans received from the ancient Incas.

The Turku 2011 programme will also stimulate people’s minds outside the Turku borders. In historical times, people living on the shores of the Baltic Sea communicated with fires. The Ancient Bonfires will be lit once again at the end of August 2011.

The Turku Capital of Culture programme is all about culture in the broadest meaning of the word. (kuva: Visit Finland)The Turku Capital of Culture programme is all about culture in the broadest meaning of the word. (kuva: Visit Finland)

In 2011, Turku will spread culture on the Baltic Sea and throughout its shores together with Tallinn, another European Capital of Culture. The largest and the most beautiful archipelago in the world offers magnificent, surprising experiences as art and the participators encounter each other in small distant churches or in the middle of the vast sea. In August 2011, the grand sailing ships will cross the Baltic Sea in celebration of the Helsinki and Tallinn Capital of Culture year with the Tall Ships’ Races event. 

The Turku Capital of Culture programme is based on an open project application phase. The application phase yielded over 1,000 project applications. By selecting and combining proposals, a programme of over 150 major projects with thousands of individual events is now being organised. The Turku Capital of Culture 2011 budget is 50 million euros. 

The Capital of Culture year is the largest Finnish investment in culture in decades. The Capital of Culture year will be realised in cooperation with the State of Finland, the City of Turku and the surrounding regions and major Finnish enterprises.

The European Capital of Culture Turku will fascinate and surprise from 15 January to 15 November 2011. The digital Capital of Culture is available at

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Updated 09/09/2010

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