The northern Colombian city of Barranquilla was named the American Capital of Culture 2013.
The distinction coincides with the 200th anniversary since the Baranquilla was granted the title of a town, although it is much older having been founded between 1627 and 1637.
The International Bureau of Cultural Capitals selected Barranquilla as the American Capital of Culture 2013 “for the city’s clear commitment to make culture a strategic element of social cohesion, civic revitalization, economic development and international promotion,” said Bureau president Xavier Tudela.
Barranquilla mayor Elsa Noguera said that the honor is in recognition of the city as a center of popular culture, heritage and diversity.
The city lies where Colombia’s main river, the Magdalena flows in to the Caribbean. As one of Colombia’s busiest ports it is the main commercial, industrial, cultural and educational centre of the country’s Caribbean region. The city of nearly two million people is host to the Carnival of Barranquilla, declared a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2003.
In addition, Colombia’s culture minister signed an agreement to create Gabriel García Márquez Cultural Journalism, an initiative which joins Barranquilla’s Department of Culture and other cultural organizations in the district.
Barranquilla is the first Colombian city to be selected as culture capital.