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Plunge into plunge--Lithuanian Capital of Culture 2009.

VILNIUS -- Plunge (pronounced Ploong-geh), a lovely little city in the northwestern Lithuanian region of Samogitia, has won the competition for the Lithuanian Capital of Culture 2009 and offers a wide range of entertainment this year including three discovery routes.

"Plunge's project suggests a new approach to Plunge as the city of arts. The art celebration will reveal historical pathways of culture, which have connected Plunge, Berzoras, Plateliai, Zemaiciu Kalvarija and other cities of the region for centuries," Vytautas Balciunas, a culture historian and head of the evaluating commission said.

The city, which is 27 kilometers from Telsiai, inherited the title from Zarasai, which was the Capital of Culture 2008, and left behind 16 other rivals across Lithuania, to win the competition organized by Vilnius European Capital of Culture 2009.

New cultural spaces, cultural experiments and cultural manifestations by local artists are being implemented as part of the event. Main events will kick-off on June 19, when musicians, poets, sculptors and other artists will take over the city. Various exhibitions, a sculpture park, memorial plates and performances are also planned.

The celebration will continue until June 21, but new cultural tourism routes; the music-literature route, the route of historical possibilities, and the sacral-historical route, will be open for exploration throughout the year.

The music-literature route includes a traditional international festival of brass orchestras (June 20), the Mykolas Oginskis festival (Aug. 29-Sept. 26), and more. There will also be a musical flea market where young Lithuanian musicians will play everything from folklore to modern music and interpretations of brass instruments.

Visitors are invited to many musical performances and exhibitions in open spaces and untraditional places such as a former Soviet factory, the old Plunge water tower, at Gandinga mound, and other places.

The route of historical possibilities is an exploration of lights and music installations in the Plunge industrial region, which includes the city bus and railway stations and bus stops. Poetry and music performances will take place on the roof of a building, in a clock-tower, in a museum at night, and in churches.

The sacral-historical route features a camp for families (June 21-28) and artists (Aug. 7-9) in Pakutuvenai--an area near Plunge, which is famous in Lithuania as the oasis of peace and love. Pakutuvenai is known for the church of St. Anthony of Padua and the Farmstead of Reconciliation where people who are lost in this world can find peace. Visitors can see old wooden churches in Plunge, and baroque churches in Gintaliske, Berzoras, Plateliai, Gegrenai, Alsedziai. The churches will host sacral music concerts, poetry readings and events marking the 600th anniversary of the christening of Samogitians.

Besides the cultural tourism routes, Plunge has always been a place worth seeing and the recent aesthetic improvements, make it a true gem. The city hosts a few hotels and many ethnographic country farmsteads for accommodation. As for sightseeing, there are nine reservations; six natural landscape objects preserved by the state; four parks; thirteen mounds; 40 monuments of architecture; 29 monuments of art and sculptures, and three mythological stones throughout Plunge region.
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Title Annotation:Out & About
Author:Vaige, Laima
Publication:The Baltic Times (Riga, Latvia)
Date:Jun 3, 2009
Previous Article:No country for businessmen.
Next Article:"Plunge--Lithuanian Capital of Culture": main events of project.

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