The Baku 2015 Flame made a dramatic entrance to Baku today, as part of a five-day tour of the capital city ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the inaugural European Games on Friday 12 June.
The flame was captured by President Ilham Aliyev on April 26 in Ateshgah, and has toured Azerbaijan for the past six weeks, involving 750,000 spectators in anticipation of Baku 2015 and the coming together of Europe’s 50 sporting nations in this historic moment for the country and the whole continent.
The Baku 2015 Flame arrived at Satko Pier by boat early this evening, carried by oil worker Nahid Nuriyev, who had travelled with it from the Oil Rocks production facility in the Caspian Sea off Baku. Mr Nuriyev then passed the flame to President Ilham Aliyev, who led the Baku 2015 Torch along the Bulvar. First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva was passed the flame by mugham singer Arif Babayev, and torchbearers Isfar Sarabskiy, Igbal Hajizade and Firengiz Alizade carried it along Neftchilar Avenue followed by a parade of Azerbaijan’s famous Karabakh horses.
From there, torchbearers Namik Abdullayev, Zemfira Meftahaddinova and Omar Eldarov led the torch to Flag Square and Crystal Hall, with a giant model horse accompanying the final torchbearer to take the flame into the Maiden Tower where it will stay overnight until the Opening Ceremony. In total the flame travelled 16km across the city and was carried by 100 torchbearers.
Mr Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sport and Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015, said: “The Journey of the Flame has fuelled the imagination of the Azerbaijani public over the past six weeks, and it was wonderful to see Baku take part in the celebrations this evening with the same enthusiasm as people across the country. Apart from building anticipation ahead of the Opening Ceremony, the Journey is a unique chance for this great capital city to be seen in a new light, and I’m sure that in the coming four days we will see the best of Baku.”