Five weeks into its epic journey across Azerbaijan, the official flame of the European Games arrived in Guba today, Monday 1 June, for the final Festival of Fire celebration in what has been a remarkable voyage, building momentum and excitement among the Azerbaijani people.
Guba, purported to produce the best apples in the country is also home to Azerbaijan’s first ever golf course, created to exacting standards demonstrating an ambitious foray into this elite sport for the emerging golfing nation.
It was no surprise then, that the National Azerbaijan Golf Club was one of the first stops of the torch convey quickly followed by a visit to some traditional weavers handcrafting beautiful carpets from naturally died wools and silks, just as their forebearers have done for centuries before them.
As with previous locations, the flame began with a traditional torch relay covering 3.47km across the Heydar Aliyev Avenue. Murad Sultanov, mountain biker, was the first of fourteen torchbearers, passing the flame to Musa Mirzayev, Sabuhi Vahidi, Tural Valibayov, Safa Ruzmanov, Murad Sultanov, Aysun Aliyeva, Miri Yusif, Jamal Rahimov, Nazarshah Fatullayev, Rovshan Javadov, Ulkar Yusifova, Turan Gafarov and Famil Mikayilov. The final torchbearer was Telman Maharramovv, who brought his torch to the stage in the Heydar Aliyev Park for the official lighting ceremony.
Amid cheers and revelries the flame was then transferred to a special commemorative lamp that will remain on display in the Park until June 28 to coincide with the cauldron being extinguished at the closing ceremony of the European Games.
Local residents enjoyed a free evening event and official European Games mascots Jeyran and Nar joined the crowd as they were treated to entertainment and music from local artists as well as the signature fire show spectacular. It was somewhat poignantly that doves and balloons symbolising peace were then released into the night to end the celebrations and signal the dampening of the festival of fire for the last time.
The Journey of the Flame will continue to Khachmaz on Wednesday 3 June for a smaller welcome ceremonies.
To see highlights of this week’s Journey of the Flame, please click on the following link: http://we.tl/MBLXX1Waie
For further information on the Journey of the Flame, please visit www.baku2015.com/flame