All of the areas which will be visited on the Baku 2015 Torch Relay route will be within one hour’s travelling for 99 per cent of the population, it was claimed here today.
The “Journey of the Flame” route, which spans 5,500 kilometres and will see the Torch transported by boat, plane, metro and bicycle, is due to begin next Sunday (April 26).
The Torch is due to arrive in the Azerbaijani capital on June 7 ahead of the Opening Ceremony five days later.
“We wanted to make sure the Torch touched the whole of Azerbaijan,” Baku 2015 director of ceremonies Catherine Ugwu said.
“The entire country will light up and all local people will be united.”
Special events and ceremonies have been planned in the build-up to its arrival in Baku and the Torch will be paraded around the 18 venues on June 8, before it takes a tour of the Old City on June 9.
It will then take in some of the city’s artistic and cultural venues before eventually arriving in time for the Opening Ceremony.
Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sports and Baku 2015 chief executive Azad Rahimov refused to reveal who will light the Torch at the Ateshgah fire temple on Sunday, telling a press conference they were keeping it “confidential” and urged people to “be patient".
He also confirmed that the sportsmen and women who carry the Torch will carry a strong Azerbaijani presence, saying there is no need for foreign influence as the nation “has enough sporting stars”.
“Ateshgah is an historic place and the excitement around the Torch Relay and the first-ever European Games will be tremendous and amazing for our country,” Rahimov added.
The Torch design itself depicts 50 pips of a pomegranate, a fruit which is considered highly symbolic in Azerbaijan, representing each of the countries due to compete in the European Games.
As well as unveiling the confirmed route, Baku 2015 also announced they will launch a website dedicated purely to the Torch Relay, where spectators can share photos and interact via social media as it makes its 48-day journey through Azerbaijan.
The Torch is set to be carried by over 1,000 Torchbearers across 60 locations and will utilise 132 vehicles.
It will travel the length and breadth of Azerbaijan, taking in various picturesque locations such as Shahdag Mountain in Gusar, River Kura in Mingachevir and Chestnut forests in Gabala.
During the route, some cities and regions will play host to "Festivals of Fire" which will include entertainment and special ceremonies to mark the Torch's passing.
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