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President Karis at Tartu 2024 launch: Culture can be made even in small places

President Alar Karis at the opening ceremony of Tartu 2024.
President Alar Karis at the opening ceremony of Tartu 2024. Source: ERR

On Friday evening, the opening ceremony of Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture took place by the banks of the Emajõgi River. President of Estonia Alar Karis, who spoke at the opening ceremony, said that the event shows the world that culture can be made even in small places.

The organizers of Tartu 2024 are expecting at least one million people will visit the city and south Estonia throughout the year. President Alar Karis hope that Tartu and other cities in South Estonia will show the world that culture can be made in smaller places, not just in bigger cities like Vienna and Paris.

"I believe that we can do it. Tartu is a cultural center both in Estonia and Europe," President Karis said.

"Today marks a significant day in Tartu, as we gather to discuss the essence of culture. This is regrettably infrequent, despite culture being the main foundation and aspiration of our nation," the president said in his speech at the opening ceremony.

"In this is manifested the uniqueness of our land and people, our nature. Culture serves as the embodiment of our distinct identity, uniting us like an invisible thread. Culture has helped us through challenging times, safeguarding the code of our essence," he continued.

President Karis then highlighted the importance, particularly for a small country like Estonia, of engaging in frequent discussions about culture.

"This is precisely why the eyes of Europe are upon Estonia today, focusing on Tartu," he said, adding that "Tartu has stood as the heart of Estonian culture and spirit throughout the ages."

"I hope that the spirit of those upon whose shoulders we stand will resonate powerfully throughout the entire year of Tartu as the Capital of Culture – both here in my hometown and throughout the entirety of Estonia," he said.

The president concluded by wishing everyone "a year filled with enriching cultural experiences."

The full opening Tartu 2024 opening ceremony can be seen again by clicking the link in the image at the top of this article.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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