As we kick off a brand new year, January 2014 hosts some of the biggest and boldest travel festivals, events and anniversaries!
1 January 2014 – 100th Anniversary of the First Commercial Passenger Flight
New Year’s Day marks 100 years since the very first commercial flight – in what is undoubtedly the most important innovation in the travel industry. The world’s first scheduled commercial airline flight took place over Tampa Bay in Florida. Pilot Tony Jannus. Flew the Mayor of St. Petersburg, Abram Pheil, who had paid 400 USD at an auction for the flight which lasted 23 minutes.
1 January 2014 – Europe – 15th Anniversary of the Euro
Fifteen years ago today, the Euro currency was adopted in 11 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Today more than 320 million people across 23 countries have the Euro as their national currency.
15 January 2014 – Riga, Latvia – Host of the European Capital of Culture 2014
Gorgeous Riga is set to shine throughout the year as the joint host of the prestigious European Capital of Culture. The inauguration gets underway today, where the packed annual calendar of events will be unveiled. Expect a whole feast of festivals in this Baltic gem which is brimming with superb architecture, engaging museums and a breathtaking Old Town, which has earnt it World Heritage status.
19 January 2014 – Aix-en-Provence, France – 175th Anniversary of the Birth of Paul Cezanne
Legendary French post-impressionist artist Paul Cezanne was born in Provence in 1839 and gave us such works as ‘The Card Players’ and ‘The Bathers’. Today his paintings, which inspired Matisse and Picasso grace art galleries across the world. See ‘Paul Alexis Reading to Émile Zola’ in the São Paulo Museum of Art, admire ‘The Painter’s Father – Louis-Auguste Cézanne’ in London’s National Gallery and discover the ‘Portrait of Uncle Dominique’ in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
20 January 2014 – Tokyo, Japan – 80th Anniversary of Fujifilm
The way we capture images was revolutionised in 1934 with the birth of the photography company Fujifilm in Tokyo. Then followed developments in motion picture films and x rays, before becoming the best known brand for photographers across the world.
23 January 2014 – Figueres, Spain – 25th Anniversary of Salvador Dali’s Death
Best known for his surrealism and modernism works, Salvador Dali is one of Spain’s best loved artists. Producing paintings, sculptures and movies, Dali was born in Figueres in Catalonia. His most famous work was ‘The Persistence of Memory’ from 1931. There are several museums and permanent exhibitions across the world that are dedicated to the flamboyant character. Check out the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his hometown of Figueres which is housed in a structure truly worthy of Dali; a cylindrical red knobbled tower topped with gigantic eggs greets visitors. Don’t miss the dedicated Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg in Florida and the Dali Universe in Venice in Italy. Some of his best-known works are captured in the YouTube video above.
23 January 2014 – Norway – 70th Anniversary of Edvard Munch’s Death
We’re all familiar with the haunting painting ‘The Scream’ which was created by the famous Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch. And this year marks the 70th anniversary of his death in Oslo in Norway in 1944. Both Oslo and his birthplace of Ådalsbruk will hold special exhibitions and talks on the man and his psychological themed works.
25 January 2014 – Chamonix, France – 90th Anniversary of the First Winter Olympics
As we eagerly await the Sochi Winter Olympic games in Russia, we can look back at the very first such event which took place 90 years ago, from 25 January to 5 February 1924. Held in the now popular ski resort of Chamonix in France, just 258 athletes competed in 16 sports. In 2014 there will be more than 2,500 athletes competing across 15 sports including curling, bobsleigh and alpine skiing.
26 January 2014 – France – 300th Anniversary of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle’s Birth
The French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle was born on this day, 300 years ago. His life and works will be celebrated both in his birthplace of Paris and across the country. Pigalle’s most iconic work is the nude statue of Voltaire from 1776, which was bought in 1962 by the Louvre. He also has a district of Paris named after him, centered around Place Pigalle in the 9th arrondissements.
29 January 2014 – Ireland – 75th Anniversary of W B Yeats’ Death
The Irish playwright and poet is honoured this year on the 75th anniversary of his death in 1939. During the course of his career,W. B. Yeats established himself as one of the foremost English-language poets of the 20th century. He was given the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 and is best known for his works ‘The Tower’ from 1928 and ‘The Winding Stair and Other Poems’ from 1929.
31 January 2014 – Umea, Sweden – Host of the European Capital of Culture 2014
The Swedish town of Umea kicks off the European Capital of Culture honour (along with Riga, below) in style with a three day opening weekend set around its motto for the event; curiosity and passion. Umea, which has a lively atmosphere thanks to a vibrant student population, promises a non-stop party throughout the long weekend – surely a sign of things to come throughout the year?!
January 2014 – Colima, Mexico – Host of the American Capital of Culture 2014
Colima is dubbed the ‘City of Palms’ thanks to the multitude of tropical trees that fringe this city on Mexico’s central Pacific coast. Its most notable for its superb eco travel facilities – visitors can go volcano hiking and bird spotting in the morning, then tackle the superb Pacific surf in the afternoon, before settling back with a margarita and watching the sun set in the evening.
January 2014 – Limerick – City of Culture 2014
The pretty Irish city of Limerick is hosting its very own annual cultural festival, packed with events spanning arts, pageants, music, sport, history, theatre and architecture. The year will have a real community feel to it with local artists encouraged to make their mark on The People’s Park Kiosk and to learn about the city’s heritage within dance, literature and architecture.
January 2014 – Cardiff, Wales - European Capital of Sport 2014
The sporting capital of Wales, Cardiff is set to shine throughout the year with a packed annual calendar of thrilling sporting events. The city, which is most famous as the set of Doctor Who, boasts several state of the art stadiums including the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff International Sports Stadium and the Swalec Stadium. The national rugby, football, cricket and athletic teams are based here. Cardiff will also vie for a chance to host a future Commonwealth Games.
January 2014 – Thessaloniki, Greece - European Youth Capital 2014
Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki is the perfect host of this particular title – it has a hip and happening atmosphere with plenty going on 24/7. Visitors are treated to boutique shopping, lively nightlife and, as you’re expect, a non-stop whirlwind of exciting festivals and events taking place all year long.
January 2014 – Tripoli, Libya – Arab Capital of Culture 2014
The vibrant city of Tripoli will host the Arab Capital of Culture honour throughout the year, although this diverse city will be off limits to many travellers as a country-wide travel warning remains in place.
January 2014 – Sharjah, UAE – Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014
The quieter and laidback alternative to Dubai, Sharjah is brimming with traditional Islamic culture, from traditional arts and crafts to striking architecture.
13–26 January 2014 – Melbourne, Australia – Australian Open
The annual battle for the Grand Slam champions get underway this month, with the first leg kicking off in Melbourne in Australia. Competing for the A$30,000,000 prize money will be Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka, last year’s singles winners. The tennis season is then followed up with the French Open in Paris (26 May 26 – 2 June), Wimbledon in London (23 – 30 June) and concludes with the US Open in New York City (25 August – 1 September).
1 January 2014 – Alcatraz, California, USA – 80th Anniversary of Alcatraz Prison
This one little word struck fear across the US 80 years ago when it reopened as a federal penitentiary in 1934. During its infamous reign until 1963, Alcatraz proved to be inescapable, although many tried. Even if an inmate has succeeded they would have had to contend with a 1.5 mile swim to land in the San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz has spawned many famous films and TV series.
1 January 2014 – London, UK – 70th Anniversary of the death of Sir Lutyens
Anybody that has explored New Delhi in India would have encountered the architectural efforts of Sir Edward Lutyens. From 1912 to 1930 Lutyens shaped the very skyline we see today, from the impressive Rashtrapati Bhavan (previously known as the Viceroy’s House), Baroda House and the Patiala House Courts Complex.
1 January 2014 – Brunei – 30th Anniversary of Independence
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of independence of Brunei from the UK.
5 January 2014 – 40th Anniversary of Antarctica’s Highest Temperature
The global warming debate rages on, but what is unquestionable is the highest ever recorded temperature at Vanda Station in Antarctica – a high of 14.6°C (59°F) was recorded on 5 January 1974.
By Julie Bowman