ATHENS, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- This Greek capital held a special ceremony on Thursday to celebrate after Athens was named the European Capital of Innovation for 2018 (iCapital) at the Web Summit held in Portugal.
It was seen as one of the most prestigious European awards and prizes in the history of the cities.
The distinction comes with a prize of one million euros (1.14 million U.S. dollars) given to the city for the innovative ways it managed to improve the everyday life of its residents and to overcome social and economic challenges.
The money will be used to encourage local innovation activities and collaborate with other European capitals.
"We have showed that things can be done differently through partnerships, with the participation of civil society and with a plan for the city," Athens Mayor Yorgos Kaminis told the Greek national news agency AMNA.
"This prize belongs to everyone, especially to those citizens of Athens who worked with the municipality to overcome the crisis. Since the prize is given to the capital, it belongs to all of Greece."
Athens tried hard during the past years to embrace innovation and open up to the world in a time of economic and social hardship.
This year, a total of 26 cities from 16 EU member states applied for the European Capital of Innovation award which is funded by the EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020.
The runner-up cities Aarhus in Denmark, Hamburg in Germany, Leuven in Belgium, Toulouse in France, and Umea in Sweden, received 100,000 euros each. The winner of last year's iCapital was Paris.