Nuotraukos Litexpo, nuotraukų autorius Justinas Auškelis.

Recent statistics reveal not only increased visibility of the cultural sector but also pre-pandemic numbers in the field of tourism. Even though the real impact of the project will be best felt in a few decades, it is already clear that the European Capital of Culture title expanded the city’s profile on the world map.

Over the five years, more than 3000 cultural events took place in Kaunas and Kaunas District gathering more than 19,000 professional artists and over 2.5 million culture lovers. The wide program offered music and dance events, cinematic experiences, contemporary performances and exhibitions of world-famous artists including Yoko Ono, William Kentridge, and Marina Abramović. In 2022 alone, Lithuanian and international artists organised more than 1,500 cultural initiatives open to the public.

M. Plepio nuotr.

To Kaunas – from Lithuania, Europe and the whole world

Data collected by the public institution “Kaunas In” showed that in 2022 the number of tourists grew rapidly in the city reaching pre-pandemic figures. According to the estimates, more than 280,000 people used the accommodation facilities between January and November last year. Kaunas was chosen as a popular destination not only by Lithuanians but also travellers from Germany, Italy and neighbouring countries – Poland, Latvia, and Estonia.

One of the reasons behind intensified tourism was increased attention from the foreign media. According to the Strategic Communication Department of the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, evaluating the visibility of the cultural field, reports about “Kaunas 2022” resulted in as much as 38.55% of significant messages on cultural topics.

The project was talked about in as many as 66 countries, including not only European countries, but also the USA, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Africa, South Korea and Singapore. Kaunas has been covered by the BBC, CNN, The Times, Rai, Euronews, Deutsche Welle, and Financial Times. According to the reach of publications, it is estimated that information about Kaunas could potentially reach 3 billion people from all over the world.

Foreign media representatives were attracted not only by the ongoing events, but also by street art, the themes related to memory, Kaunas modernist architecture, and the appearances made by world-renowned artists. More than 170 international journalists visited the city, and as many as 2,800 publications were published under the topics of the European Capital of Culture year in Kaunas.

05.22 Nemuno 7 Martynas Plepys-110

In the future – the continuity of cultural events and projects

A number of popular festivals and events have become an integral part of the city and its surrounding district. The International Day of Happiness, Kaunas Literature Week, and the Fluxus Festival, which has now become a tradition, will continue to attract visitors and residents of the city. Culture to the Courtyards, Citytelling Festival and the international performing arts festival ConTempo will keep on bringing music and performances to Kaunas’s neighbourhoods. Design enthusiasts will remain warmly-welcomed participants at the MAGENTA Landscape Design Festival. The European Capital of Culture Forum and the much-loved Contemporary City Festival AUDRA will also carry on. And in Kaunas District, the community project “Contemporary Neighbourhoods” will continue to take place.

A Path of Emerald, the route touring public art objects, featuring 50 works by Lithuanian and international artists, will remain in operation in Kaunas District, as well as the dredger-boat “Nemuno 7,” located in Zapyškis, now turned into a space of art and culture.

Those curious to visit the former Capital of Culture should bear in mind that cultural experiences are awaiting also 100 km away. While buying tickets to Lithuania one should not miss the chance to visit Vilnius which celebrates its 700th birthday this year. The extensive program will combine the past, present and future of the city while offering numerous cultural events and exhibitions. Vilnius will continue its mission started by duke Gediminas – to make the name of Vilnius famous all over the world.