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The first defense ahead of us. Fingers crossed!

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Tomorrow, February 2, the defense of applications for Slovak cities running for the European Capital of Culture 2026 will begin. In addition to Nitra, 7 other Slovak cities compete: Trenčín, Trnava, Žilina, Hlohovec, Prešov, Martin and Banská Bystrica. Our time will come on Wednesday, February 3 at 1:30 pm. First, we will present our application in 30 minutes, and then we will have 60 minutes of questions and answers, where we will have to defend it by answering questions of the international jury composed of 11 cultural experts from all over Europe.

Our 7-member team involves: Marek Hattas (mayor of Nitra), Marián Tesák (director of the multi-genre festival Flaam), Katka Melichová (pedagogue and researcher at Slovak University of Agriculture), Anna Šimončičová (deputy director of the festival Divadelná Nitra), Zuzana Novotová Godálová (director of the space for contemporary culture NÁSTUPIŠTE 1-12), Irena Lehocká (project manager of the Creative Centre Nitra project) and Martin Zaujec (music producer, musician in the bands LUVVER, Lannne and Bad Karma Boy). Read more about our team.

The jury’s decision on the cities advancing to the second round will be announced on Friday, February 5 at 3:00 pm at a press conference of the Ministry of Culture. Thank you for your support. During the defenses, we will do our best to get Nitra to the final round of the competition for the ECOC 2026 title. If you are more interested in Nitra’s candidacy, read our Bid Book or a short version of its basic program activities at