Stirling has missed out on being shortlisted to become the UK City of Culture in 2025.
Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough were chosen as the final four.
They will now go head-to-head for the title, with the winner set to be announced in May.
The announcement was made on Saturday by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Carol Beattie, chief executive of Stirling Council, insisted the people of Stirling should be “extremely proud” of what they have achieved, despite the disappointing news.
“Today’s news leaves us all feeling slightly deflated but we are not disheartened,” said Beattie.
“The people of Stirling should still be extremely proud of what they have achieved and I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to get us here.
“The backing we received from across Stirling and indeed the whole of Scotland has been overwhelming.
“Sharing our stories of how people in Stirling are changing lives through the power of culture has been inspirational.
“The competition has also restored a sense of civic pride and optimism after the challenges of the pandemic.”
Beattie insisted that is Stirling is still “alive with culture”, as she looked ahead to the future.
She said: “We have built strong partnerships across our communities that will help us unleash Stirling’s distinctive and inclusive cultural potential.
“We are working together and are more determined than ever to deliver on our cultural ambitions for the people of Stirling.
“Today is not the end, it’s the start of another exciting chapter. Stirling is alive with culture.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, also praised the hard work and dedication of those involved with the bid.
“While it is disappointing that Stirling hasn’t made the shortlist for 2025 UK City of Culture, there is still much to be positive about,” he said.
“I’d like to say a massive well done to everyone involved for their hard work and dedication to get this far.
“The bid has shown just how extraordinary Stirling is, bursting with history and culture as well as new events and experiences – with more developments on the horizon through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.
“We will continue to work with partners and the local tourism industry to build on the momentum created by the bid, and ensure we showcase what a fantastic destination the city is.”
Iain Munro, Creative Scotland chief executive, congratulated the team behind the bid.
He said: “Whilst not making the shortlist, their ambitious bid reinforces the importance of the arts and creativity to local communities, to their wellbeing, the economy, and to Scotland as a whole as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Stirling has strong foundations for culture-led regeneration, with a thriving creative scene ready to welcome visitors from across the UK and abroad.
“We look forward to continuing to work with partners in Stirling to enhance the creative offer of the city through our successful Place Partnership, Scene Stirling.”
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