Despite being separated by the state border, Polish and Ukrainian cross-border regions are connected by interpersonal, institutional and cultural links. In case of the Zakarpattya Oblast, however, these links are not very strong, which can be explained by the history and the physical absence of border crossings with Poland. This region is yet to be discovered by Polish people, as well as Polish regions are to be discovered by the residents of the Zakarpattya Oblast. The project "Two cultures, one Europe" (acronym 2cultures) was designed to fill the cultural gap between the Lubelskie Voivodeship and the Zakarpattya Oblast by presenting their cultural heritage across the border, involving local actors in cultural dialogue and actively engaging youth in common cultural activities.
The project implementation started in June 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, three project conferences were held in the online format: The Polish-Lithuanian Union as UNESCO heritage of many nations, Castles of Lublin and Transcarpathia, Culinary heritage of the Lublin region and Transcarpathia. During these events, participants presented information about the cultural heritage of both regions, discussed common challenges and possible solutions. In October, a starting conference in Uzhhorod was organized in a hybrid format.
The Strategy of the joint promotion and preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of the Zakarpattya Oblast in Ukraine and the Lubelskie Voivodeship in Poland for the years 2020-2025 is another important element of the project. The strategy will be a roadmap to help the regions identify their goals and achieve them.
The next step was to create a common cultural product, which would help the Ukrainian audiences discover Polish culture. For this purpose, the Transcarpathian Academic Regional Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater named after the brothers Yuri-Augustin and Eugene Sheregiev staged a theatrical play by the Polish playwright. A young theatre crew staged the play "The Tale of the Dog Who Broke its Chain" by Piotr Rowicki. This performance in the form of a dance-drama raises issues important for every teenager, such as freedom, choice and responsibility. The actors are from 12 to 16 years old. The first night of the play took place on the Grand Stage of the Transcarpathian Academic Regional Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater on 8th May 2021.
Meanwhile, on the Polish side of the border, young people are preparing a special multimedia comic book about the history of the castles in Lublin and Uzhhorod, and a guidebook to the cross-border architectural landmarks. It will be an interesting way to draw young people’s attention to these places and encourage them to visit them in the future.
In order to strengthen cultural ties and present the richness and diversity of the cross-border area to a wide group of stakeholders, and to increase the attractiveness of the image of the region, the Uzhhorod Cultural Center will be opened in the building of the Regional Drama Theater. The total area of the center is 133.7 square meters. The official opening of the Center for the Development of Polish-Ukrainian Culture will take place on 14-15th May 2021.
More about the project can be found here.
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