10/25/2012 01:48 pm ET

Londonderry, Northern Ireland Embraces Role As UK's 'City Of Culture' (PHOTOS)

The Northern Irish city of Londonderry is embracing its role as the U.K.'s "City of Culture" for 2013, planning an ambitious series of arts events that will feature a play staged by Sam Shephard and a punk rock musical.

The AP reports that the city, a center of violence during "The Troubles" and the site of the "Bloody Sunday" massacre, will also welcome the London Symphony Orchestra and Nobel-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The stated hope is that the celebration serves as both a way to celebrate the heritage of the ancient city and a way to further ameliorate the tensions between the local Catholic and Protestant communities, which refer to their home as Derry and Londonderry respectively.

The city has plenty to offer travelers. It is at once stunningly traditional -- parts of it look like London's shabby-chic districts -- and possessed of a distinctly Irish toughness that allows it to weather IRA attacks.

In naming it one of the cities travelers should visit in 2013, Lonely Planet described Londonderry as "undergoing a renaissance."

Here's a tour of the newly-minted cultural capital.



Touring Londonderry, City of Culture