European Capital of Culture concludes with a Happy End on December 22nd

25. November 2011

As Tallinn’s Capital of Culture draws to its official end, the culture will continue to live and thrive in Estonian capital and beyond. To celebrate the success of the European Capital of Culture, Tallinn is inviting visitors to take part in a “Happy End” project, comprising several exciting activities and events on December 22nd which are free of charge for everyone.

According to Jaanus Mutli, a member of the board of the Tallinn 2011 – European Capital of Culture foundation, 2011 in Tallinn was unprecedentedly rich in events and in people, especially guests from abroad: “We have proved that one should not search for Estonian culture with a lighting match. Our culture is all around: it has different layers; it is based on traditions of the past and looking into the future. People from different nationalities came together to join initiatives and this co-operation is exactly the “Estonian thing” that we can be proud now, when Tallinn 2011 – European Capital of Culture is coming to an end”.

The festivities of the official closing event of Tallinn 2011 will take place on December 22nd. An extraordinary film night which includes the one-off screening of ’60 Seconds of Solitude in Year Zero’, a film project that has been created by more than 50 worldwide known film makers, including (Park Chan-wook (South Korea), Michael Glawogger (Austria), Naomi Kawase (Japan), Eric Khoo (Singapore), Shinji Aoyama (Japan), Rafi Pitts (France/Iran) and Brillante Mendoza (Philippines) among others). The screening will take place at 19:30 on 22 December 2011 at the cruise ship dock of the Port of Tallinn. This extraordinary event will be accompanied by a great performance – a special screen, the equipment, set design and the film itself will be sacrificed to the flames as it is being shown, never to be seen again. Creators and producers of the film are Veiko Õunpuu and Taavi Eelmaa; the screening will be accompanied by live music composed by Ülo Krigul. Neither the film nor the event will be marketed or broadcast in any profit-making way; the only copy will be destroyed.

The premiere of ‘Song of the Tower Bells’, specially composed by Margo Kõlar and the video projection inspired by it on the façade of St. John’s Church will start at Freedom Square at 20:11 on the dot. For around 20 minutes, ten churches around the city – Aleksander Nevski Cathedral, the Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker, the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul, the Episcopal Cathedral, St. Olaf’s Church, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church, the Church of St. Charles and St. John’s Church – will fill the Old Town with a unique sound: the harmonious concert of the bells of the city’s church towers, which have gone unheard for years. They will once again ring out and be heard by all of the old Hanseatic city’s residents with the help of modern technology.  The audio-visual experience will be made complete by a video projection by artist Taavi Varm using the architecture of St. John’s church as a unique canvas.

Following the unique ‘Song of the Tower Bells’ and accompanied by Christmas songs performed by the mixed choir of the Estonian public broadcaster ERR, Freedom Square will be submerged in a shimmering sea of candlelight. The Christmas candles in European Capital of Culture colors that will be handed out to the public will welcome the winter equinox and light up the darkest winter night. People are asked to bring their own candles along with them as well so as to add to the glow of the sea of culture on the square.

The final act of the European Capital of Culture ’Happy End’ on 22 December will start at noon, when a dozen museums open their doors free of charge. Kiek in de Kök, Photo Museum, City Museum, Peter I House Museum, E. Vilde Museum, A.H. Tammsaare Museum, Children’s Museum, Miia-Milla-Manda and Puppet Museum will be open from 12:00 to 18:00. The three latter ones offer workshops for making Christmas presents and decorations.

The night will end with the final party of Club 2011 which is a party series that has introduced Tallinn’s club and alternative music culture to a wider audience throughout the Capital of Culture year. Every event has shone the spotlight on a key player in the city’s club music scene, like Mutant Disco, Search of Sounds, Bashment and Telescope. At 22:00 on 22 December the exciting space at the Kultuurikatel and Energia Discovery Centre will play host to the final party in the series, where everything that has gone before will come together as one.

“The team of Tallinn 2011 – European Capital of Culture believes that we managed together with the people to broaden the meaning of “culture” and bring it out from the galleries and concert halls to the light of day for everyone, into the urban spaces and into the daily life of people,” said Mutli.

According to Tallinn2011 foundation, 1 145 410 overnight tourists have visited Tallinn between January and September this year, 89% were from abroad. Thus Tallinn has set a new record with a 17% increase in tourists flow compared to first nine month of 2010. Overall Tallinn expects to host 1,5 mln tourists by the end of the year which exceeds the total population of Estonia. The Tallinn2011 information centre in Rotermanni quarter hosts around a thousand of curious tourists per month.

Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) to be the European Capitals of Culture in 2012.

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