By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Ganja city has won the title of the Sports City of Europe for the first time among the CIS countries.
The European Parliament hosted an official award ceremony for the title Sports Capital of Europe and Sports City of Europe with the organizational support of the Federation of Sports Cities and Capitals of Europe ("ACES Europe") in Brussels, Belgium.
Official flags for 2019 were handed over to sports cities and towns of Europe.
Accordind to AZERTAC, Ganja, elected the Sports City of Europe for 2019, was also represented at the ceremony. The ceremony was attended by the head of the Ganja City Executive Authority Niyazi Bayramov, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Farhad Hajiyev, MP Khanlar Fatiyev, head of the Main Department of Youth and Sports Mushfig Jafarov, head of the Production Association of Urban Housing and Communal Services Ilham Guliyev.
The delegation led by the head of the executive branch of the city of Ganja, Niyazi Bayramov, received the official flag confirming the title of the European Sports City.
Speaking at the event, Niyazi Bayramov, expressed his gratitude to the leadership of the ACES Europe organization, which implements the sports policy of the European Parliament.
Speaking about the successful sports policy implemented in Azerbaijan, Bayramov noted that as a result of the consistent efforts of President Ilham Aliyev, this area has become even more developed and expressed confidence that Ganja will adequately bear the title of Sports City of Europe. He noted that today, in most regions of Azerbaijan modern Olympic sports complexes are functioning. It is no coincidence that the number of national athletes participating in international competitions, Olympiads and world championships, and showing successful results, is growing every year.
The Evaluation Committee of the ACES Europe organization visited Ganja city on May 1-4, 2018. During the trip, various information was collected in connection with the infrastructure of the city, work carried out over the past 3 years in the field of sports, and the successes achieved, including upcoming plans, meetings were held. As a result, on the basis of the decision taken on May 16, Ganja was awarded the title of Sports City of Europe in 2019.
Every year, the Federation of Sports Cities and Capitals of Europe awards 9-19 cities the title of the Sports City of Europe, and one city the Sports Capital of Europe. Sofia, which is the European Capital of Sports this year, transferred the title to Budapest for the following year.
Ganja, one of the three largest in size and population of Azerbaijani cities, is famous for its rich historical and natural heritage, which makes it the largest tourist center of Azerbaijan.
Ganja is an ancient city in the west of Azerbaijan, which played a big role in the history of the whole country. There are different points of view about the history of the formation of the second capital of Azerbaijan. Some refer the foundation of the city to the period BC, while others relate it to the beginning of the Middle Ages.
According to the scientific research conducted recently, Ganja has existed for more than 4 millennia. The funds of the local lore museum - craft items, samples of local ancient ceramics, precious stones that were discovered in the valley of the Ganja-chay river - helped to make this amazing discovery. All these artifacts were sent to the famous Alexandria Library and the Archaeological Center of Egypt for analysis in 2013.
Shortly before that, the age of the ancient settlement of Ganja was also investigated by specialists from the Smithsonian Institution of the United States. As a result of the research, archaeologists have found that the first urban settlement in the territory of Ganja was built at least 4,000 years ago.
All these discoveries are sensational in nature, since more recently it was believed that the age of Ganja is no more than 2,500 years.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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