Baku 2015 today revealed the route that the first European Games Journey of the Flame will take through Azerbaijan’s capital city from 7-11 June, ahead of the entrance of the flame to the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony on 12 June.
The Baku 2015 Flame was captured at the sacred Ateshgah temple on 26 April, and since then has travelled the length and breadth of Azerbaijan, spreading the message of the European Games and involving the whole population in anticipation of the inaugural event. The Journey of the Flame will have visited 60 regions of the country ahead of its arrival in Baku, passing within one hour of 99% of the country’s population.
On Sunday 7 June, the flame will arrive in Baku in spectacular style by boat before visiting the newly redeveloped White City Bulvar, Neftchilar Avenue and Flag Square, finally arriving at the Maiden Tower, where it will stay overnight during its time in Baku.
Monday 8 June will see the torch carried through nine of the Baku 2015 venues, as follows – the Heydar Aliyev Arena, National Gymnastics Arena, Crystal Hall, Baku Aquatics Centre, Bilgah Beach, Tofiq Bahramov Stadium, the Basketball Arena, BMX Velopark, and Mountain Bike Velopark.
On Tuesday 9 June, the Baku 2015 Flame will tour the picturesque Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, taking in many of the historically significant buildings. These will include the famous Shirvanshahs’ Palace, acclaimed by UNESCO as “one of the pearls of Azerbaijan's architecture.”
The following day of the Journey, Wednesday 10 June, will celebrate Baku’s parks and cultural spaces, as the flame visits Nizami Street, Fountain Square, the Winter Park, Philharmonic Park, and finally the City View Park at the top of the funicular railway.
Thursday 11 June will see the Baku 2015 Flame leave the Maiden Tower for the final time, and follow the shore of the Caspian Sea towards Satko Pier before departing for the Olympic Stadium, where it will next appear on Friday 12 June during the Opening Ceremony.
Mr Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sport and Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015, said: “The Journey of the Flame has brought the spirit of Baku 2015 into the hearts of Azerbaijanis throughout the country. It has built anticipation and excitement ahead of this defining moment for Azerbaijan and will now involve the Baku public in the magic of the first European Games.”
Over 1,000 torchbearers, selected for their importance to local communities and service to sport, have been chosen for the honour of carrying the European Games Torch.
Mr Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said: “Our wonderful host city of Baku is everything we could have asked for as organisers of this new continental-scale event. The passion and energy of its people, and their enthusiasm for these historic first European Games will be captured perfectly by the celebrations that will take place here during the Journey of the Flame.”
Ms Catherine Ugwu, Baku 2015 Director of Ceremonies, added: “The Journey of the Flame in Baku will be a wonderful way to involve the host city’s residents in the Games, and to ensure that the best of Baku is showcased for the whole world to see ahead of the Opening Ceremony. We have endeavoured to ensure that the creative aspects of the inaugural European Games, including the spectacular Ceremonies, capture the imagination of Baku 2015’s athletes, spectators and the general public, in Azerbaijan and beyond, and the Journey of the Flame is a key part of this initiative.”