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Romanian revolution cradle to be EU culture capital 2021
A general view taken on June 20, 2016 shows lightning strikes over Piata Unirii (The Union Square) of Timisoara, Romania. Timisoara city symbol of the Romanian anti-communist uprising has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2021, announced September 16, 2016 the European Union. CORNEL PUTAN ALIN / AFP.

BUCHAREST (AFP).- Timisoara, the cradle of Romania's 1989 revolution against communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, was named Friday by the EU as the European capital of culture for 2012.

The western Romanian city will be the country's second to secure the EU cultural showcase honour, after Sibiu in 2007, the year Romania joined the bloc.

"I am confident that Timisoara will give visitors from Europe and all over the world the opportunity to discover the city and its cultural assets," said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

"I am convinced that the title will bring Timisoara significant long-term cultural, as well as economic and social benefits, as we have seen with many previous European capitals of culture," he added.

Simona Neumann, who worked on the city's campaign to win the EU honour, said it reflected Timisoara's commitment to "tolerance, multiculturalism and (being) multi-faith," 

"It also reflects the internal light, the civic energy of our citizens .. which culminated in the revolution of 1989 and which has gone out for a few years.

"These civic values must be revived," she added.

The project to prepare Timisoara for its year in the EU spotlight will have a budget of 48.5 million euros ($54 million) over six years from 2017, including 25 million euros provided by local authorities.

Romania's third biggest city, with some 320,000 inhabitants including ethnic Hungarian, Serb and German communities, Timisoara saw the start of the uprising which brought down Ceausescu on Christmas Day, December 25, 1989.

Three other Romanian cities had been in the running: the capital Bucharest, Baia Mare in the north and Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania.

The EU will choose two other European cultural capitals for 2021, a Greek city and another from a country which is a candidate or a potential candidate to join the bloc, later this year and next year.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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