The third European Games concluded with a Closing Ceremony dominated by music ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

The Flame of Peace was extinguished here tonight to bring an end to the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games at a music-dominated Closing Ceremony.

Małopolska Marshal Witold Kozłowski and Mayor of Kraków Jacek Majchrowski had delivered their closing speeches in Polish before European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Spyros Capralos expressed his gratitude to the organisers, host nation, athletes and volunteers.

Kozłowski thanked "everyone who honoured the event with their results, and special thanks go to the athletes from Ukraine", while Majchrowski claimed the European Games had "proved that we are ready to organise great sporting events".

Capralos, an International Olympic Committee member in Greece, then declared the third European Games officially closed.

"It was a great challenge and it has never happened before that so many cities have been the arena for such a big sporting event," Capralos said.

"I thank and congratulate all these cities for sharing the beauty of your home with us. 

"Special thanks go to the volunteers - you are the embodiment of the spirit of the European Games - thank you for your attitude and commitment.

"Thank you also to the Polish people.

"You will always be in our hearts."

EOC President Spyros Capralos said the Polish people
EOC President Spyros Capralos said the Polish people "will always be in our hearts" ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

Polish singer Andrzej Lampert then delivered a performance of the anthem Pieśń Pokoju, specially composed for the Games, while the Cauldron outside of the stadium had the Flame of Peace extinguished.

Music formed a key part of proceedings either side of the official closing.

A Kraków iconic bugle call beamed around the stadium in one of the opening stages before the Polish national anthem was played.

Mała Armia Janosika, a children's band consisting of more than 200 young artists performed a song which translates to This is how life tastes, followed by a parade of the 48 competing nations' flags plus the EOC Refugee Team led by Greece in the Olympic tradition alongside a set from the Kraków-born DJ Gromee.

Once the athletes arrived to the main floor, Motion Trio, who play the accordion delivered a performance, with the theme then turning to folk-rock through Tunioki's Wounded Heart.

A folk dance continued to showcase the host nation's culture, followed by two pieces Wszyscy braćmi być powinni and Hava Nagila - piękna jest chwila from the singer Justyna Steczkowska as an ode to Jewish music.

Future Folk were next up with Zbójnicki, then Sławek Uniatowski with a masterful rendition of Lubię wracać tam gdzie byłem which had the crowd waving the torches on their phones.

Folk dancing provided one of the cultural elements of the Closing Ceremony ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023
Folk dancing provided one of the cultural elements of the Closing Ceremony ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

The formal elements of the Closing Ceremony were followed by a moment for volunteers to take centre stage and receive the acclaim of those in attendance, with a "musical fiesta" rounding off proceedings.

Karolina Leszko performed Queen's We Are The Champions, upcoming star Sara James played her new single Hula Hoop and popular Polish personality Doda presented her latest single Melodia Ta and a version of Belinda Carlisle's 1989 hit Leave a Light on.

Julia Belei from Lviv provided Ukrainian representation at the Closing Ceremony by playing Ruslan Lyzhychko's Wild Dances, a song which won the nation the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2004.

Pop-rock band Pectus delivered Pharrell Williams' Happy, Viki Gabor went with Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me), before James played the Ceremony out with a rendition of Keala Settle's This Is Me from the film The Greatest Showman.

A powerful firework display brought the Closing Ceremony to an end.

Kraków-Małopolska 2023 was held over 11 days featuring 7,000 athletes, with Italy topping the medals table with 35 golds.