On 8 November, UNESCO unveiled the newest members of its Creative Cities Network. Created in 2004, this network seeks to promote the cooperation of cities which have identified creativity as a key factor in their sustainable urban development.
As the term creativity is extremely broad, UNESCO has outlined seven main fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.
The first Greek City of Gastronomy
In a press release, the Greek Municipality of Thessaloniki proudly shared that it has become the first Greek city to join UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network for gastronomy. In other words, UNESCO has recognised Thessaloniki’s traditional culinary practices, vibrant gastronomy community, and local food, among others.
To receive UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy designation, one must first submit a bid. Commenting on its application, the municipality shared that it diligently prepared and submitted a complete file, highlighting its history, gastronomic tradition over the centuries, creative potential, and the work of the scientific and research community.
Expressing his delight with the newly-designated title, the Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas noted: “Gastronomy is, after all, a key comparative advantage of Thessaloniki – our city is a crossroads of tastes and cultures, now with the UNESCO stamp. Good local cuisine is the backbone of the gastronomic offer.”
Discussing the benefits of the new title, the Deputy Mayor of Culture and Tourism Maria Karagianni explained that Thessaloniki’s designation as a City of Gastronomy will put culture, creativity, and gastronomy at the centre of its tourism development. Moreover, it will support the social, creative, and economic potential of the entire region.
Beyond this, it is crucial to note that UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network facilitates the exchange of experience, know-how, and resources. Therefore, Thessaloniki will have the opportunity to cooperate with other member cities to develop further and increase its attractiveness.