2nd European Games opening ceremony begins in Dinamo Stadium in Minsk (PHOTO)
The Presidential Orchestra and the National Academic People's Orchestra named after Iosif Zhinovich conducted by Viktor Babarikin stand on the central stage.
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and President of the European Olympic Committees Janez Kocijancic as well as foreign guests, including heads of state, who arrived for the opening ceremony, watch the show from the VIP lounge.
The state flag of Belarus was brought in by 14 children clad in national costumes. They represent six regions of the country - Brest Oblast, Vitebsk Oblast, Gomel Oblast, Grodno Oblast, Minsk Oblast, Mogilev Oblast - and the city of Minsk. The ceremony took place to the instrument version of the Byelorussia song of the famous Pesnyary music group.
The children passed the flag on to the soldiers of the Silent Drill Platoon. The flag of the country hosting the 2nd European Games was raised to the national anthem of Belarus.
The first episode of the show – Kupala Night rite – has started in the center of the arena. This performance is a journey to the core of traditional culture and intangible cultural heritage of Belarus. This episode will introduce the audience to national costumes, time-honored traditions, rites and the way of life of Belarusian people.
The lighting of the fire of the 2nd European Games Minsk 2019 will be one of the key draws of the ceremony. The Flame of Peace relay race was launched in Rome on 3 May. Over the course of 50 days the torch travelled for over 7,000km on its way to Minsk. The flame was taken to the highest peak in Europe – Mont Blanc. The Flame of Peace went through Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland. The flame travelled all over the country in Belarus.
The 2nd European Games are taking place in Minsk on 21-30 June. Over 4,000 athletes from 50 countries will compete in 200 medal events in 15 sports. Belarusian athletes (221 people) will take part in every kind of the competitions. For Belarus the 2nd European Games is not only an important sport event. It is also an important cultural event. Participants and fans of the event will be able to see performances in the Upper Town, exhibitions of prominent Belarusian painters, and music shows.
Minsk was granted the right to host the 2nd European Games at the 45th meeting of the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees in October 2016. The 1st European Games took place in Azerbaijan's capital city Baku in June 2015. Belarus was represented by 151 athletes in 24 sports. As many as 48 Belarusian athletes became prize winners. They won 43 medals, including 10 gold ones, 11 silver ones, and 22 bronze ones.