Marsa will be Malta’s first capital of culture, Culture Minister José Herrera said on Friday. 

The title comes with a €200,000 fund to implement cultural initiatives throughout 2022. 

The program of events includes musical shows, fireworks displays, art exhibitions and community activities. 

On announcing the winner, Minister Herrera described the locality as a “hidden gem” and said it was high time the area was regenerated in the same way other harbour areas had been in recent years.

He said the cultural title would serve to promote the locality’s unique identity.

The concept of a rotating cultural crown for towns and villages across Malta and Gozo was an electoral pledge in the 2017 election and was meant to follow-up on Valletta’s stint as European Capital of Culture in 2018.

The idea had first been touted to political parties by former V18 chairman Jason Micallef. 

Meanwhile, Minister Herrera on Friday congratulated the Marsa local council for having successfully applied for the title.  

Herrera contests national elections on the first electoral district, which includes Marsa.  

Marsa mayor Josef Azzopardi said the town had a vast array of events lined up, ranging from painting and sculpture shows, to larger events including on the waters of the Grand Harbour.  

The program, he said, would involve all members of the Marsa community.  

Marsa has in recent years been struggling to integrate a bustling migrant community that has settled there.

However, despite concerns raised by vocal residents, figures published in  parliament show that the majority of crimes in the area are actually committed by Maltese nationals. 

In recent years there has been an effort to crack down on crime in the locality with police announcing increased daily patrols

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