19 February 2006

Cities as Cultural Centers

Key cities for centuries have been the centers of culture. These nodes have been where the recourses of civilizations, both human and material capital, have been focused. The centers of culture have changed through out the centuries mostly based on the economic strength and trading with the outside world. Some cultures and cities are still felt in our overall world culture today even though they have made have long passed into the backwaters of cultural influence. The influences of the Greeks, Romans, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germans, Russians, English, Italians, French, Spanish and the Ottoman Empire are still present in our world today. These cultures were focused on several key cities: Athens, Amsterdam, Rome, Vienna, London, Paris, Madrid, Istanbul (Constantinople) and Berlin. There were other centers of culture which were important in the development of Western culture such as Florence, Venice, Milan, Budapest, Barcelona and Prague.

Think about the world without these cities. Although their glory might have long past, the art, the music, the architecture, their literature, fashion and their history still give inspiration. Can we say that much for many of the world cities? Are we losing the very meaning of the city as a place where creative people are found?

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