On the sixtieth day of its global journey the Olympic Flame will visit Central and Western Macedonia, sites and towns rich in historic symbolism. Travelling through Veria and Florina, the Torch Relay will make stops at Naoussa, Skydra and Edessa.
185 Torch Bearers, running a total of 155 km, will carry the Flame.
The morning route started off on the Vermion slopes, from Veria, a town whose name is closely linked to that of the first president of the International Olympic Committee, Dimitrios Vikelas. Former captain of the Greek National Handball team, Kostas GIOVANOPOULOS, lighted the altar standing before the bust of Vikelas. The Mayor of Veria, Christos SKOUBOPOULOS and OCOG ATHENS 2004 representative, Penny MIKELOPOULOU laid wreaths at the foot of the statue.
The Lyceum of Greek Women, the Efxinos Club and the Vlach and Thracian Associations, all of whom performed together a typical Macedonian dance, gave performances of Greek folk dances. Early in the morning, 150 children wearing traditional costumes went about the streets of Veria holding olive-tree branches, inviting people to greet the Flame. "We welcome the Flame, lighting the altar in the most beautiful spot in our city and we express our warm thanks to all those who contributed to this unique Torch Relay,"
said Mayor Skoubopoulos.
Naoussa was the next stop for the Torch Relay where people greeted the Flame with a spectacular display of the rich traditions and customs of the area.
Skydra will welcome the Flame with the church-bells ringing and fifty primary school children who will form a human chain around the altar. Priestesses will greet the last Torch Bearer Giannis PANTAKIDIS, while doves will be released into the sky when the altar is lit.
In Edessa the arrival of the Flame will coincide with the inauguration of a new section of Macedonia University and the Dean, Mr. Velentzas, will kindle the altar. Florina will be the last destination for today, where a stop over ceremony will take place. A concert by Stelios DIONYSIOU will conclude the celebrations.