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Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay are the four contenders which have made it through to the shortlist for the UK's next City Of Culture.
The locations were announced by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey after the independent advisory panel looked at 11 bids for the four-yearly accolade.
They are aiming to be given the title for 2017, following this year's chosen city, Londonderry.
Swansea Bay's bid includes not only Swansea but also Carmarthenshire, Neath and Port Talbot.
Locations which failed to make today's list were Aberdeen, Chester, East Kent, Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, and Southend-on-Sea.
The panel which looked at the bids was chaired by former TV executive Phil Redmond. The winning City Of Culture will be announced in November, with the finalists asked to submit an updated submission by the end of September.
The victor can expect a major boost in tourism and investment.
Mr Vaizey said:
"I want to congratulate the four shortlisted cities who have made it this far, and indeed all 11 cities who put time and great effort into submitting bids.
"The events in Derry-Londonderry over recent weeks highlight just how much of an impact being City Of Culture can have. It brings together communities, encourages economic growth, and inspires social change and the shortlisted cities should be very proud of the bids they have put together so far.''
Mr Redmond said:
"It was incredibly difficult to decide on a shortlist as all the bids recognised the power of culture to bring about social change and offered innovative and interesting programmes.
"In the end the panel thought the four short listed cities offered plans that were ambitious, realistic and would not only deliver for their communities, but would also maintain the momentum created around the success of Derry-Londonderry.
"I want to thank all 11 cities for the time and commitment they have put in to their bids and look forward to hearing more from Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay later on in the year.''