Baku has hosted a remarkable event in the sport history of Azerbaijan and the world as the flame of Baku-2015 first European Games was lit.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, his wife, chairperson of the Baku-2015 First European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva, family members, and president of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey attended the event.
April 26 marks the beginning of the journey of the flame. The flame will travel the length and breadth of the country around regions of Azerbaijan for 47 days before being delivered to the Baku Olympic Center for the Opening Ceremony. In accordance with an Olympic tradition, the journey of the flame starts at Ateshgah, an ancient and sacred temple.
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the ceremony.
President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey also made a speech.
Then accompanied by chairperson of the Baku-2015 First European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva and president of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey, President Ilham Aliyev lit the Olympic flame.
The head of state handed over the Baku-2015 torch to first torchbearer, Olympic champion Rafiga Shabanova, marking the beginning of the journey of the Olympic flame..
The torch measures 660mm high, and its body features a pomegranate tree, echoing the Baku 2015 brand. The copper head that protects the flame is also in the form of a pomegranate – its 50 pips representing the number of nations participating in the Games.
At each location, the flame will be transferred to an oil-fired lamp, based on an iconic Azerbaijani design incorporating the pomegranate tree motive from the torch and games identity.
There will be more than 1,000 torchbearers in total. The torch will be transported over ground by bus, funicular railway, bicycle; underground on the Baku metro; on water by boat; and in the air by plane. The flame will travel nearly 5,500 km.