'Black Hours' and 'Golden Times' - European Urban Fates. Three case studies

In this project, funded by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ), students and teachers produced teaching materials in 2008 on the history of three European Capitals of Culture and made them available online.

The diversity and complexity of the fates of cities offer one particularly interesting approach to the history of Europe while their interconnections and the commonalities of European culture and history offer another. Historical developments and events can be captured prismatically within such urban fates. From this idea, the project developed a kaleidoscope of selected European Capitals of Culture (Essen, Krakow and Vilnius). Teaching units were created on their history, which were available on a multi-lingual website until 2024. The aim was to create  representations from multiple perspectives to provide both an approach to the diversity of European history and an insight into the potential for conflict, and subsequently to enable an open and pluralistic European history to be written, without focussing on current national borders.

The cities were each presented on the website in their most difficult situations - the ‘black hours’ - and at their peak - the ‘golden times’ – with 5 topics in each. Topics included ‘education’, ‘migration’ or ‘everyday history’. The units comprised an informative author's text, authentic source material and appropriate assignments.


Cooperation partner for the pilot project:

  • Krystyna Zaufal / Halina Wesołowska, Małopolskie Centrum Doskonalenia Nauczycieli (MCDN) with student group from the University of Kraków
  • Dr. Arunas Vysniauskas, Vilnius University History Faculty with Vilnius University student group.
  • More project information

    Project duration

    • 2008


    • EVZ Foundation of the Geschichtswerkstatt Europa