16/06/05 The participation of the writers Dominique Lapierre, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Matilde Asensi and Andrés Trapiello; the architect Arata Isozaqui; the historian Hugh Thomas; the thinkers Carlos Castilla del Pino and José Antonio Marina; and the actor Rafael Álvarez "El Brujo" is just an example of the first-class events that Santa María Cathedral Foundation has planned for the new edition of "Encounters with the Cathedral" (Encuentros con la Catedral), which will take place during the next months.
This cultural project by Santa María Cathedral Foundation enables it to continue its ambitious efforts towards spreading knowledge and culture while it goes on with the Gothic temple restoration. The talks given by prestigious writers will be the main thread across the scheduling, but the listing also includes conferences and seminars on architecture, humanism and communication related to the restoration project. Exhibitions; drama performances; courses of traditional trades; workshops for children; photography, literary and painting contests, among other activities, will also be carried out.
This wide variety of events will be held thanks to the agreement signed by the Santa María Cathedral Foundation, the Government of Álava and the Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council. This agreement establishes that the Government and the City Council will grant 140,000 and 70,000 euros, respectively.
The participants, the interest shown by society and the variety of the subjects approached -Archaeology, Architecture, History, the Humanities, Literature, Music, or Drama- make this cultural offer one of the most comprehensive in the country. This is reflected in the fact that the largest publishing houses have included Vitoria-Gasteiz in their list of cities where book presentations are made, and also in the special invitation the Santa María Cathedral Foundation received from the Madrid Book Fair, where the former participated recently.
It is worth mentioning that society has also participated actively, for the two previous editions were attended by more than 50,000 people, mainly from bordering provinces.
Apart from being a first-class cultural offer, "Encounters with the Cathedral" is highly profitable. Writers who participated in it have become ambassadors to the Santa María Cathedral project, for they spread information on it in newspaper and magazine articles. In some cases, their writing finds inspiration in the Old Cathedral, or the temple is part of the setting for some novels.
Ken Follett, for instance, commented during his visit to the Santa María Cathedral that he will look for inspiration in this temple while writing the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. Toti Martínez de Lezea is also preparing a novel where the Old Cathedral is part of the setting, and Julio Llamazares will include it in a book he is writing on Spanish cathedrals. The last chapter of the marriage of the Santa María Cathedral and literature has been written by Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian writer. In his latest novel, The Zahir, he narrates his experience in Vitoria-Gasteiz and its temple when he participated in "Encounters with the Cathedral", in 2004. Coelho´s book is estimated to have sold eight million copies around the world.
"ENCOUNTERS WITH THE CATHEDRAL"
1.- TALKS BY PRESTIGIOUS WRITERS
(DURING THE NEXT MONTHS)
In the past years, the Santa María Cathedral Foundation has gathered some of the most important international writers: Ken Follett, Mario Vargas Llosa, Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Antonio Gala, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Carmen Posadas, Zoé Valdés, Paulo Coelho and José Saramago, among others.
Moreover, the prestigious paleontologist JUAN LUIS ARSUAGA opened the literary talks; he was followed by IGNACIO MARTÍNEZ DE PISÓN and BERNARDO ATXAGA. In the next months writers and thinkers will participate: the hispanist HUGH THOMAS, DOMINIQUE LAPIERRE, CARLOS RUIZ ZAFÓN, who wrote the best seller The Shadow of the Wind, MATILDE ASENSI, a historical-novel writer who has published The Last Cato and El origen perdido (The lost origin)...
2.- TALK ON THE ORIGINS OF VITORIA-GASTEIZ
(22 JUNE, Palacio de Villa Suso)
Agustín Azkarate, the Archaeology professor at the UPV, and Juan Ignacio Lasagabaster, the technical director of the Santa María Cathedral Foundation, will talk about the origins of Vitoria-Gasteiz and the Old Cathedral. Antoni Nicolau, the director of the Barcelona History Museum, will present a plan for transforming the history of the city into a museum project: a centre for interpreting the Cathedral and its surroundings that will allow to understand the history of Vitoria-Gasteiz before and after the construction of the Gothic temple and its influence on the urbanisation of the city.
3.- CELEBRATION OF DON QUIXOTE´S 4TH CENTENARY
(FROM 18 TO 26 JULY)
The restoration of the Santa María Cathedral and its related cultural events have forged close links with the world of literature. Thus, the 4th centenary of the first publication of Don Quixote could not be missed, and so the Santa María Cathedral Foundation has scheduled a series of talks, public readings, and painting and drama contests to be held in July.
Just to give an idea before the official presentation of the schedule, it is worth mentioning that next 25 and 26 July, RAFAEL ÁLVAREZ "EL BRUJO" will perform El ingenioso hidalgo de la palabra (The ingenious literary gentleman), inspired in Cervantes´s masterpiece. "El Brujo" has decided to start his tour in Vitoria-Gasteiz, as a way to acknowledge the collaboration by the Santa María Cathedral Foundation, which started one year ago.
4.- WORKSHOPS FOR CHILDREN
(FROM 4 TO 22 JULY)
Learning the history of the old village of Gasteiz, knowing the features of Gothic architecture, making stained-glass windows or recreating the sculptures of a cathedral´s portico are included in the three workshops for children organised by the Santa María Cathedral Foundation that will be held in July.
These practical courses, which will take place from Monday, 4 July, at
the Visitor Reception Area, are aimed at bringing children between 6 and
11 years of age close to the Santa María Cathedral restoration
5.- PAINTING, LITERARY AND PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITIONS
"Encounters with the Cathedral" also gives importance to artistic creativity. This is why the Santa María Cathedral Foundation organises three contests on short story writing, paintings and photography. The money prizes will total 8,000 euros and the awarded works will be exhibited at the Centro Cultural Montehermoso.
6.- INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON ARCHITECTURE AND SOCIETY.
21ST CENTURY CATHEDRALS
(FROM 12 TO 16 DECEMBER)
From 12 to 16 December, the Santa María Cathedral Foundation will gather the most prestigious national and international architects, who will attend a forum where the influence of contemporary architecture on today´s society will be explored. The meetings will also be a good opportunity to show the architectonic phenomenon Vitoria-Gasteiz and Álava witness, deriving from projects developed by renown national and international architects. ARATA ISOZAQUI and SHIGERU BAN will be among the guests.
7.- HUMANISTIC MEETINGS ON THE ART OF LIVING.
MAN AS THE ARCHITECT OF HIS OWN LIFE
(FROM 6 TO 11 FEBRUARY)
Man´s masterpiece is the construction of his own life, which, as the construction of a cathedral, is quite a complex and tortuous endeavour. The origins, development and reconstruction of the Santa María Cathedral -with its injuries and illnesses, its rise and fall, its adapting to changing times, its different periods and contexts, its hardships and ability to regain self-esteem- represent an allegory for these meetings whose aim is to teach how to live, help find the tools to face life in its different stages and the instruments to improve it through the ideas of thinkers, essay writers, philosophers and humanists who have devoted part of their work to analyse the art of living and the search for happiness.
CARLOS CASTILLA DEL PINO and JOSÉ ANTONIO MARINA will deliver talks.
8.- TRAVELLING PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
The restoration of the Santa María Cathedral has broadened its promotional efforts through the domestic and international travelling exhibitions of photographs by the first two artists -Vari Caramés and José Manuel Navia- who took pictures of the Gothic temple´s restoration process. Hundreds of thousands of people could see the temple´s images in various Spanish cities and, more recently, in Lisbon, where the Master Plan was presented. The joint exhibition will go on travelling throughout 2005, and the Santa María Cathedral will soon choose the next photographer to be included in the next exhibition.