Regional Cultural Capital


Emblem of Beirut Cultural Capital 1999The idea of annual "cultural capitals" grew out of a 1982 United Nations conference whose delegates agreed that a broad definition of "development" must include a cultural dimension. It is culture, they concurred, more overtly than economics, that aspires to nurture the good of humankind. In 1986, the United Nations General Assembly declared 1988 to 1997 as the World Decade for Cultural Development and designated UNESCO as the lead body.


United Arab Emirates - coin Sharjah Cultural Capital 1998Among the more than 1000 projects undertaken by the UN's member countries was the Regional Cultural Capitals Program, which started in Europe to give a boost to cultural efforts in cities such as Glasgow, Manchester and Barcelona.


The World Decade for Cultural Development was extended with the Regional Cultural Capitals Project by the Executive Board of UNESCO during its 144th session in Paris 1994.


Poster for Riyadh Cultural Capital 2000Originally aimed at the Latin American and Caribbean region holding a representative series of artistic and cultural events focusing on one city so as to offer the citizens of each country the opportunity to become acquainted on their own soil, with the diversity and wealth of regional culture.


The Arab region followed the example and designated Regional Cultural Capitals since 1996.


1996   Cairo, Egypt

1997   Tunis, Tunisia

1998   Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

1999   Beirut, Lebanon

2000   Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Tunisia - stamp Tunis Cultural Capital 19972001   Kuwait City, Kuwait

2002   Amman, Jordan

2003   Rabat, Morocco

2004   Sana'a, Yemen

2005   Khartoum, Sudan

2006   Muscat, Oman

2007   Algiers, Algeria

2008   Damascus, Syria

2009   Jerusalem, Palestine Authority

2010   Doha, Qatar





Arab Capital of Culture in Wikipedia.



Stamp catalogue - 1997


Tunisia                        15 July 1997









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last revised: 7 June 2009