European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Evaluation of Patras 2006

The city was deemed by evaluators like Bob Palmer a complete disaster. He had already recommended two years earlier that the title should be taken away. One reason for the failure may have been political dispute between the artistic director and management, with the artistic director Mikroutsikos (composer) resigning on January 3, that is in the year 2006 when Patras was to be ECoC.

The official programme was only published in March of that year. Hence the events received only scant attention by the media - an explanation which prompted Bob Scott to heed that lesson and every since communication and public relations became a main criterion for success.

I tried to cover Patras 2006 which hosted among others a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition and which gave rise to the title of our Heritage Radio online magazine "Europe under construction" (many works were still under construction at the beginning of the year).

HF Athens 19.9.2015


Patras 2006


Overcome the word doubt

and you will understand

what a flagship does once ashore.


It is stranded, some would guess,

while others call it ship wreck.


But no, near the train station

a tangible symbol of a ship

twirls its blue colours into the evening sky.


Angel like figures seem to hover

above the city as if to guard

the citzens from what might befall them

in their rhythm of work and sleep

during the days of a whole year of 2006.


Longing not for an end, but the beginning

the mains street seems to have become wider

to receive the guests from abroad

who arrive if not by ship, then by magic buses

to let culture happen as an intermingling of voices.


On the sojourn of the day they will understand

that a whisper of sorts can make a touch be important,

for crucial are the senses, crucial for the firmament of the city

awaiting a call for all to begin breathing in airs of culture.


There is another journey which never ends before the day ends

and yet goes on, much further than what the eyes can see ahead,

but then buses become ships and ships buses

to leave the city wondering what is happening all along

the harbor front and in the side streets winding up to the old town.


Once embraced by all cultures to underline newly won affinities

times spend on culture are the ones everyone cherishes

once found to be no longer alone, no longer isolated

and free to swim in the human stream, free to laugh, free to talk

about the next morning being on time to welcome the day.


Hatto Fischer


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