Serbia's second-largest city Novi Sad has been elected as one of the three European capitals of Culture for 2022.
A city unique for its history and architecture, but also the hometown of world-known Serbian artists and scientists, Novi Sad enters the new year with renewed sense of pride as the country's first to receive the honour.
The city joins Kaunas, Lithuania and Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg as the three selections for 2022.
Novi Sad is now adorned with lights and projections of the 'For New Bridges' campaign, a play on words at the programmes of new events named after bridges crossing the Danube.
With a calendar of over 1,500 cultural events, the city hopes to further connect its inhabitants and the region's cultural community through "bridges" with the European Union and to reinforce their links with the rest of the Western Balkans area.
What will this year hold for the city?
The new European Capital of Culture will turn its old industrial complexes into galleries, art studios, and theatre stages.
Serbs will also be able to enjoy classical music concerts at the city's concert hall.
"This range of investment in culture didn't occur in the previous 50 years or so in Novi Sad," explains Nemanja Milenković, CEO of the 'Novi Sad 2022' programme.
Along with its newly-won European title, Novi Sad also "won" over the world-famous violinist Stefan Milenković's heart.
"I'm here because of my family and because it is a challenge for me to participate directly in the life of classical music in Serbia. One of the key factors is, of course, a phenomenal creative climate," Milenković told Euronews.
With this current climate, cultural institutions and independent artists were called to become part of what the organisers called "the beginning of the transformation of Novi Sad".
This year, through festivals, exhibitions, theatre plays, and concerts, the city will address issues of European relevance, such as migration, peace, multiculturalism and the role of women in art and youth culture.
The city hopes its new European title will increase the number of tourists again, after two previous years affected by the pandemic.
Novi Sad's tenure as a 2022 European Capital of Culture will officially begin on January 13, coinciding with New Year’s Eve under the Serbia's Julian calendar.