AKIPRESS.COM - The Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games torch lighting ceremony took place in Ashgabat September 8.
The torch was lit in a cultural center in the Karakum Desert about 30 kilometres outside of Mary, an oasis city on the former Silk Route at one biggest gas reserves in the world.
The ceremony was attended by nearly 4,000 Mary residents including singers, dancers, athletes and elders took part in the festivities.
The ceremony, a walkabout through Turkmenistan's way of life, showed snapshots of the country's long history as it prepares to welcome the world to Ashgabat 2017. Displayed along the route was artwork, a variety of handmade items including jewellery and clothing depicting the life and traditions in the region and displays of the 21 sports that will be held at the Games. There were yurts for as far as the eye could see for this final landmark event ahead of the 17 September opening.
The lighting of the torch took on a fairytale feel as a horsemen shot an arrow in the sky, it was set alight by the rays of the sun which started a fire when it landed. The torch was was then lit by those flames.