SHAFAQNA – With only a very short while to go before the inauguration of Baku 2015 European Games, Azerbaijan is getting ready to light the Games’ flame and write a new page of history. Baku’s flame will soon travel across the country, a powerful symbol for the region and the world that Azerbaijan has earned its place on the global arena.
The flame will begin its journey from one of the country’s historical landmark – Ateshgah temple, and cover 60 regions of the Land of Fire.
The Baku 2015 torch will be lightened at the ancient and sacred temple, on April 26. The flame will then travel the length and breadth of the country, spreading the spirit of the Games to the people, celebrating Azerbaijan’s extraordinary landscape, culture and heritage.
“The torch was created using the traditional art of Azerbaijani coinage. Thus, the torch will represent our national and spiritual values,” said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan youth and sports Minister, at a ceremony presenting the torchlight procession program.
Both the torch and the lamp of Baku 2015 were designed by Sebastian Bergne under the artistic guidance of the Yarat Contemporary Art Organization.
The foundation of the torch stands at a height of 660 centimeters and resemble the pomegranate tree of the Baku 2015 brand. The copper fire bowl is also made in the form of a pomegranate, with the 50 grains of the fruit symbolizing the number of countries participating in the Games.
In 47 days, the torching process will feature the history of Azerbaijan, its natural resources, the country’s achievements in the fields of culture and sports, the minister stressed. It will cross 5,500 km, travelling by ground, bus, funicular and bike, in the Baku Metro as well as by water and air.
The march will involve more than 1,000 torchbearers, 150 teams and 132 transport means.
The Journey of the Flame can also be followed on its dedicated social website starting April 26 at Baku2015.com
The torch will return to Baku on June 7.
Moreover, the capital city will enjoy fun activities before the opening of the Games. This includes such activities as the Day of sports arenas on June 8, the Day of the Old City on June 9, the Day of Art and Architecture on June 10, and the last day of the torchlight procession program on June 11.
“The European Games mark a historic moment for European sport, and for Azerbaijan it will be a milestone in the country’s progress as an independent, forward-looking member of the European family. This extraordinary journey will showcase the best of Azerbaijan – taking in historical, natural, sporting and cultural highlights in the 60 regions,” Azad Rahimov said.
Director of ceremonies at Baku 2015, Catherine Ugwu, said: “The Journey of the Flame will build momentum and excitement in the lead to the first-ever European Games. It will help set the tone for what’s to come.”
The Baku 2015 Torch and Lamp were art directed by Yarat and designed by Sebastian Bergne. They are beautifully designed, engineered and crafted, using materials and techniques inspired by
traditional Azerbaijani metalwork.
Baku has become the focus of much attention as distinguished guests are getting ready to visit the beautiful capital city. All will marvel in the achievements of this one country of the South Caucasus as great many new sporting facilities have been erected in honor of the Games.
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady, Chairperson of the Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee, Mehriban Aliyeva opened the Aquatic Palace in Baku on April 20.
The Aquatic Palace was founded in April 2013, to develop water sports in the country and organize competitions at a local and international level. The sports facility covering an area of 72,000 square meters is fully compliant with the requirements of the International Swimming Federation.
The palace has three swimming pools. The president viewed the main pool, where the competitions will be held. The pool, 50 meters in length, 25 meters in width, and 2.5 meters in depth, was designed for competitions.
The length of the pool for diving stands at 25 meters and its width at 20 meters. The pools were constructed by Italian Myrtha Pools Company.
The facility can host 6,000 spectators. The palace also has designated areas for the disabled, VVIP, VIP section and for journalists.
The second pool was built for training. The length of the pool stands at 51 meters and its width at 20 meters.
This June, the venue will host three Aquatic disciplines for the Baku 2015 European Games – Swimming, Diving, and Synchronized Swimming.
The disciplines will be compete over 14 days, during which more than 800 athletes will be housed at the Center.
Following, the head of state and the first lady reviewed the Baku Sport Palace after it underwent a major overhaul.
The modern palace is now ready to host the Olympic and Paralympic games. The Baku Sport Palace consists of a main sport hall and a technical building. The reconstruction saw the number of seats at the palace increase from 1,100 to 1,736. There are special rooms for referees, media representatives and VIP guests. There are also doping control rooms, cafes for sportsmen and media representatives.
The palace will host badminton and table tennis competitions during the inaugural European Games.
Baku National Olympic Stadium, the largest stadium in the country, and a number of sport facilities around the city are ready to welcome the competition.
Overall, the Baku Games will include 20 sports, 16 of which are Olympic, during the 17 days of competition in June 12-28. 6,000 athletes will prove themselves in Azerbaijan’s capital.