Courier July Courier - Page 24

EVENTS, EXPERIENCES, EXHIBITS, ETC. COMPILED BY PAT HENDERSON AND KENDALL FLETCHER Valletta’s Fort Saint Elmo Leeuwarden’s Welcome to the Village festival includes installations (top) and live music. 22 July 2017 Valletta harbor Valletta is the capital of Malta, an island situated 50 miles south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. The city, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980, features a number of fortifications and historical buildings constructed by the Order of the Knights of Saint John starting in the 1500s. Areas such as Valletta’s Strait Street, which has recently been revitalized and is now home to popular wine bars and buzzing restaurants, are just part of the city’s ongoing evolu- tion. Renowned architect Renzo Piano was involved in the design of two recent high-profile projects, the new parliament building and the opera house. As Valletta looks ahead to its year as a cultural capital, the flagship MUZA project will bring a new visual arts center to the famous Auberge d’Italie. To find more on Leeuwarden, go to 2018.nl or contact Corné Ruijs of NTA member Ruijs Travel at c.ruijs@ruijstravel.com. For more information on Valletta, go to valletta2018.org or contact Damon Allan of NTA member Maxima Tours/ Exclusively Malta at damon@exclusivelymalta.com. —P.H. Since 1985, the European Union has selected cities from its member nations to serve as capitals of culture, and the two featured destinations in 2018 are Leeuwarden, Netherlands, and Valletta, Malta. The program highlights Europe’s diversity by allowing lesser-known cities to showcase their rich cul- tures through a mix of live performances, festivals, special events, themed exhibits and other traditional activities. Located in the northern part of the Netherlands, Leeuwarden blends the beauty of its lakes and recreational areas with the heritage of the Frisian people. In addition to showcasing the architectural wonder of its historical buildings and more than 600 national monuments, the city will put on a number of unique events detailing different aspects of local life. The overarching tagline for Leeuwarden’s 2018 program- ming is “Iepen Mienskip,” or “Open Community,” which points to the area’s strong sense of interconnectedness. During the year, visitors can enjoy hundreds of cultural activities and performances based on five themes: Community and Diversity, City and Country, Nature and Culture, Royal Frisian, and Lab Leeuwarden. Leeuwarden and Valletta ready to shine as 2018 European capitals of culture