Introductory word from mayor

June 16th, 2013 // Nekategorizirano

Vili Bassanesse Umag is a city of distinctive and rich history and culture, a city where the Mediterranean and Mitteleuropa meet and interpenetrate. For thousands of years the Mediterranean was an area where civilizations were formed and dissolved. Through maritime routes exchange of goods took place, while at the same time trade expanded culture. This is a special place, I dare say, a stage on which dynamic and dramatic action took place. What is remarkable is the fact that it is understandable to everyone because of its common civilization origin, which affects all aspects of human existence: basic economic activities, traditional architecture and language. The Greek cultural influence, followed by centuries of Roman rule, were the main drivers of prosperity on the shores of the “Mare Nostrum”, as it was called by the Romans.

Another geographical determinant is represented by Central Europe, an area largely under domination of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In this “melting pot”, a common cultural identity was generated, sublimated in the expression Mitteleuropa. Two geographic determinants meet in Umag: one bright and playful as well as its climate, the other calm and refined as theater masks. This atmosphere can be felt, seen and experienced in Umag, especially during the Festival of Chamber Theatre “Golden Lion”, which celebrates its fourteenth edition this year. It is a festival which carefully selects topics and questions the social values ​​through a variety of theatrical poetics which have their origins in the Mediterranean and Central European culture. This project of Damir Zlatar Frey brings intriguing performances and is specific for its multilingualism, which describes the city in the best way, as a city that has always been open to dialogue between different cultures. With the recently adopted cultural strategy, our city has chosen multiculturalism and multilingualism.

Last summer the urban structure of the city center, built during the Venetian period, became part of the stage. With this act the “Golden Lion” symbolically returned to its original spaces. It was exactly in the heart of the city at the hotel “Al Leone d’oro” (“At the Golden Lion”), that the owner Antonio Coslovich arranged the theater hall. Unfortunately, the building was completely destroyed in the final days of World War II. The Festival of Chamber Theatre is a homage to Coslovich and a cultural heritage of Umag.

Each new edition of the Festival brings new excitement to our city, which makes me very happy. During these days, in the presence of eminent theater artists, Umag takes on a whole new dimension and becomes a cosmopolitan city. The local people and their guests have the opportunity to enjoy the majestic theater performances in which language barriers disappear. All this is possible to experience only in Umag, and therefore I invite all our friends and true theatre admirers not to miss the 14th edition of the Festival of Chamber Theatre.

Vili Bassanese

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