You probably saw the opening ceremony on TV, heard about it on the radio or have seen the adverts... but what is Forum Barcelona 2004 exactly?
From now until September 26, Barcelona, cosmopolitan city of style and contrasts, will be celebrating a massive cultural event converting it into the number one world city of culture for 141 days.
King Juan Carlos inaugurated the Forum on Sunday. He spoke of: “A more just, prosperous and harmonious world without terrorist barbarity such as was witnessed on the March 11, which plunged us into profound grief and indignation.”
His solemn speech was followed by the festive celebrations including a great spectacle of light, colour and sound.
Organisers estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 people were present on the first day of opening.
The montage of the ‘Warriors of Xian’ was the most successful exhibition, bringing together 15 terracotta model soldiers of the Qin dynasty (221-207 AC) as well as hundreds of other objects excavated from the mausoleums of Qin Shihuang and Yang Ling of the Han dynasty (206 AC-220 BC).
So what is the Forum?
The Forum is a festive journey in which visitors can enjoy and celebrate art and entertainment from around the world through a variety of exhibitions, performances, markets and games.
Different artistic ideologies, sustainable development and conditions for peace are united to form the three main thematic ideas of the event. The visitor will learn that through tolerance, almost anything is achievable.
Barcelona is the ideal platform upon which a Universal Forum of Cultures should be celebrated, a city where juxtaposition of old and new, of rich and poor is omnipresent.
It is a city that flits between the tranquillity of barrio life and the vibrancy and cutting-edge of its industries and inhabitants. It is a city that is not afraid to break barriers, a city that will destroy traditional moulds and can metamorphosize harmoniously when faced with future challenges.
The epicentre of the events will take place at the far-east end of Avenida Diagonal, the main street that dissects the city. The area - which lies alongside the sea - has been recently developed to house the event.
It covers 30 hectares between Barcelona Olympic port and Sant Adrià de Besòs and culminates the urban regeneration programme started for the Barcelona Olympic Games of1992. The new site comprises a central plaza, parks, auditoriums and a new port.
An international meeting point
Performances, music, workshops, exhibitions, conferences and congresses will make up its programme... almost five months in which we can submerge ourselves in a multicultural environment aimed at renewing ideas and opinion.
Forum Barcelona 2004 defines itself as a multi-cultural meeting point, fusing celebration and dialogue in order to broach the most urgent talking points of the 21st century.
The diversity of its events allows visitors to experience and participate in a wide range of activities that cater for all ages. As well as permanent exhibitions, the temporary exhibitions are changing constantly, so the visitor can see something different every day.
A forum of dialogues
The Forum is also a meeting point for dialogue. This does not mean it will house summit meetings: it means establishing a dialogue to build values for the entire international community.
Meetings will take place in the new Convention Centre and the Forum Building and 1,500 international speakers are forecast to attend. To take part in the various dialogues, subscribe through the Forum’s website (see below).
Will it only take place in the new site?
Not only the new Forum site will house the events. Barcelona city will also be the scene of many cultural events: theatres, museums, foundations, streets and plazas will all house some of the activities.
Forum for kids
Organisers of the event have made sure that kids are also the protagonists. The new precinct offers many attractive activities for kids, including games and several workshops where, among other activities, they will be able to contribute to painting a huge collective mural.
Which musicians can I see?
Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Bob Dylan, Dido, Alicia Keys, Phil Collins, Norah Jones, Alejandro Sanz, and a whole host of other international artists and groups.
How much will it cost?
A standard adult entrance ticket costs 21 euros and 15.80 euros for children. OAP tickets cost 12.60 euros and OAP groups 11.30 euros. Three-day tickets are available as well as season tickets. Reductions can be obtained if bought in advance.
Forum Barcelona is jointly organised by Barcelona City Council, the Catalán Regional Government and Central Government. UNESCO also ratified its unanimous support for the event.
For more information on dates of specific events, consult the Forum’s website on: www.barcelona2004.org