"Today the Flame has reached the soil of Crete and old Psiloritis shares our joy". This is one of the many mantinades, or serenades, with which the people of Crete are greeting the Olympic flame on its journey to the island's cities and villages.
Crete is not at all sparing when it comes to warmly welcoming and honouring the Olympic symbol and the Torchbearers who are bringing it. Despite the high temperatures, the Flame is greeted by thousands or residents who take to the streets to cheer and to participate in the events. The Flame's procession will be covering 134 kilometres with 174 Torchbearers today.
Today's first ceremony was held at 09:45 in the morning at Spili, located immediately after Agia Galini, where the Flame remained overnight. Mayor Yiannis Tatarakis welcomed the Flame. He said: "Our land is small, but its tradition is enormous…". Fifteen Torchbearers ran with the Flame at Spili and student Emanuella SAPOUNTZI lit the Altar.
The Flame headed in the direction of Rethymno after Spili, crossing villages decorated with flags on its way. A welcoming ceremony was held in Rethymno with regional dances and songs. The procession will then make its way to the Tombs of the Venizelos family and will stop at Chania, the last city in Crete that will host the Flame before it journeys to the Dodecanese. The Municipal band will greet the procession as it enters Chania. Various events will be held at the Firka fortress, ending with a concert by Manolis Lidakis. Doctor Stylianos KALOGERAKIS will light the Altar.