The Hungarian city of Pecs has celebrated taking up the baton of becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2010 with a gala of dance and music.
Pecs is sharing this year’s title with Essen in Germany and Turkey’s Istanbul.
For 25 years, the cultural crown has passed from city to city across Europe, as designated by the European Union.
Little-known Pecs hopes to use the accolade to raise its profile both within the region and in the country.
Its motto is to be “The Borderless City.” For 2,000 years, it was open on all sides to the traders and armies which criss-crossed Europe. The motto is a nod to its past but also a celebration of its multi-ethnicity.
Sunday night’s gala ceremony boasted up to 1,000 performers including the city’s ballet company, puppeteers and folk-dancing troops as well as Hungarian pop stars.