City Opening Ceremony

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16. 01. 15:00 - 18. 01. 21:30

The Small Pilsen Paradise will be opened on 17 January

17 January 2015 is a date everyone knows by heart by now. It’s the day, after five years of preparations, which will see the full rollout of all the events of Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015. At the heart of the opening will be Pilsen itself. Under the baton of Petr Forman, the Artistic Chief of Pilsen 2015, a spectacle celebrating the European Capital of Culture will unfold. Join us!

Programme details

The opening of the city will be enacted over the following three days:

► FRIDAY 16 JANUARY 2015: Warming Up Pilsen!

Art’s Birthday

A party hosted by Pilsen at the Pap-rna Cultural Centre that will make the city part of a world-wide celebration of the birthday of arts, traditionally organised on behalf of the Czech Republic by the Český rozhlas (Czech Radio) Vltava broadcasting station. Attendees can look forward to contemporary music, sounds and arts.


► SATURDAY 17 JANUARY 2015: Opening Pilsen

Petr Forman, the Artistic Chief of Pilsen 2015, has been devoted to the script and direction of the opening ceremony in the city centre since late 2013. He has invited several eminent personalities and ensembles from the Pilsen, Czech and European cultural spheres to collaborate, among them the Swiss tightrope walker David Dimitri, whose performances will be complemented by other domestic and foreign acrobats; Robert Magro, the Artistic Director of La Central del Circ in Barcelona; cameramen Jan Malíř and Martin Šácha; lyricist Jiří Suchý; the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra; organist Adam Viktora; the Pilsen School of Music; and other prominent personalities from various domains.

A personal invitation from Petr Forman:

"The late afternoon, evening and night of Saturday will proceed in three stages.

During the first stage in the late afternoon, citizens and visitors alike will be gathering at five locations around the city centre:

  • U Prazdroje Street opposite the OMV petrol station (in the direction of Doubravka)
  • Sirková Street opposite the Main Railway Station (in the direction of Slovany)
  • Drivers – nám. Míru (Peace Square) (opposite the Český rozhlas building), walkers – T. G. Masaryk Square (in the direction of Bory)
  • Emil Škoda Square (in the direction of Skvrňany)
  • Lochotínská Street – the parking lot at Kaufland (in the direction of Lochotín)

At 5 p.m., we will set out to the city centre together, in five processions inspired by everything that the city, its surroundings and the region hold. The five processions will present a variety of interests, activities and initiatives of the city, the region and its residents. Among those participating will be more than fifty elementary schools, interest groups and children’s homes contributing their creations inspired by the opening. There will be a party of enthusiasts with their mopeds, interest and social associations, cultural societies, dance ensembles, clients of social organisations, the Alfa Theatre, the J. K. Tyl Theatre, sportsmen and youth engaging in more than 20 kinds of sports, a DinoPark carriage showcasing a dinosaur on a float, historic public transport vehicles and buses and coaches of the ČSAD transport services company, the historical fleet of the fire rescue service and much more. We invite everyone who wants to experience the roughly 40-minute long highlight of the evening amidst the city decorations right on the square!

The second stage, which we call the shared moment, will take place on Republic Square where the crowd with the processions will arrive.

The original music for this festive moment will have its world premiere to mark the occasion and be performed live on the square by a grand orchestra. The music is being written by Marko Ivanovič, one of the most prominent contemporary Czech composers and conductors. The piece culminates in the much anticipated first sounding of the new bells in the Pilsen cathedral.

The music, along with the imagery projected on the wall of the cathedral and the facades of the houses surrounding the square, forms the foundation for a surprise to be staged over the spectators’ heads and around them. Revealing it in this book would be a shame. We can hope, though, that if every one of us still harbours at least a little dormant desire for miracles, thrills and emotions, it will be well worth meeting on the square and the surrounding places and collectively experiencing the moment that will finally kick off the European Capital of Culture project.

In the third stage of the evening, the city will open itself to all the people present and the celebrations will move further along to the surrounding parts of the city – including outdoor areas turned into pedestrian zones especially for this day as well as the premises of historical buildings, courtyards, culture halls, museums, galleries, libraries, pubs and music clubs. Pilsen will be celebrating with not only beer but also music, singing, dancing, theatre and poetry.

For those who don’t mind the cold, there will be an outdoor ice bar by the Pilsen sculptor František Bálek, various interest groups and social associations will be serving warm drinks and the city centre will play host to tastings of European and Czech cuisine.

There will be dancing on the square and in the City Clubhouse (Měšťanská beseda), featuring the Dance Floor by Petr Píša, as well as at the Peklo Culture House. During the evening and the night, you can warm yourself up at any time in the popular clubs of Pilsen, such as ACW Saloon, Anděl Music Café, Buena Vista, Divadlo Pod Lampou (Theatre under the Lamp), Hifi Club, Jabloň (Appletree), Jazz Rock Café, Inkognito Café, Mazaný Králíček, Papírna (The Paper Mill), PH+, Zach’s Pub and Pohoda, or you can simply savour peaceful moments at selected sites throughout the city centre.

This is just to give you a taste of some of the attractions and events of the evening and the night. A detailed programme with all the events spanning these three days, including a map of the locations where all the activities take place, will be distributed towards the end of 2014."

The Bells of the Pilsen Cathedral – the Word of Msgr František Radkovský, the Bishop of Pilsen

„Bells are the voice of the heart of every church and cathedral, city and village. A voice ceremonial or plain, joyous or sorrowful, a voice which accompanies the various moments in the life of a city and its residents. This requires, however, an entire group of them, small and big bells alike. Only then are they capable of making a glorious, constantly changing harmony, a majestic melody which will never lose its appeal as it is always new.

There is always a connection between bells and the history of the city which they are a part of. In times of fires, wars and other tragedies, bells often die; when a city thrives and prospers, new bells are a joyful sign of success and good times. Pilsen is no different. Two fires and two wars destroyed the bells of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral during its history. The group of bells now to be installed in the tower is the fifth in the series. What’s more, the new bells of the Pilsen cathedral, being procured in a joint effort by many Pilsen residents, businesses and institutions, have become the collective cause of these stakeholders.

Additionally, the bells will sound festively for the first time to mark the opening of a fruitful new chapter in the contemporary history of the city – becoming the European Capital of Culture 2015. Is there a symbol that could be more meaningful in expressing the interconnection of Pilsen’s cultural history with the present?“


► SUNDAY 18 JANUARY 2015: Enjoy Pilsen!

The peaceful Sunday will offer visits to interesting sites around Pilsen. You can have a sit-down in a café in the company of distinguished personalities from Pilsen and the Pilsen Region, take a walk through Pilsen’s hidden places or just roam around Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015.

A Coffee with...: Come and have a chat with personalities from Pilsen and the Pilsen Region over a nice cup of tea or coffee. Prominent figures from Pilsen, Czech and foreign cultural (and other) life will devote their time to you.

Hidden City: Walk through the unrevealed nooks of Pilsen and discover with us all there is that our city holds.

Open City: Visit other locations in the city centre which belong inherently to Pilsen.