Daily Times: Eurovision 2012: In expectation of great festival
31 mart 2012, 11:00
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva:” ... Leaving the Land of Fire, many of them will take piece of this fire in their soul...”
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest running television shows in the world. It was on May 24, 1956, that Europe saw this contest for the first time. After 56 runnings, the Eurovision is one of the most typical European traditions and without doubt, Europe’s favourite TV show!
In 2011 after an exciting voting in front of tens of thousands of people in a fully packed Düsseldorf Arena and millions of TV viewers all over Europe, it was finally Ell and Nikki from Azerbaijan who received the highest number of points from televoters and juries from the 43 countries.
Not only did the duet mesmerise the European audience with their “Running scared” song but also made Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan into the host of Eurovision 2012. It is astonishing, that it was just the fourth participation of Azerbaijan in this most prestigious European contest which brought the victory to the “Land of Fires”!
The country is in full preparation for this event that will take place from May 22-26. More than 30,000 people are expected to fly in to watch the show in person and almost 125 million will tune in on television – an incredible influx of attention for a country!
The Organising Committee of Eurovision Song Contest 2012 was established by the Azerbaijan government to provide support in resolving issues related to the coordination of the work of state agencies, required for successful holding of the contest. The committee is lead by the First Lady of Azerbaijan, the President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO Mehriban Aliyeva.
A charming lady and a bright personality, Aliyeva captured the hearts of Azerbaijanis with her charity and readiness to address the issues of each and everyone who is in need of that. She deals with children’s problems and provides regular moral and financial assistance to elderly people.
The footprints of the Foundation are to be found in all the spheres of life- science, education, sports, environment, religion and culture. The newly constructed schools, Thalassemia Centre, clinics, musical lyceums, mosques, renovated shrines and religious monuments, concert halls as well as promotion of Azerbaijan’s and world’s cultural heritage, innumerable publications on music, history, cuisine - this is incomplete list of the work done by Mehriban Aliyeva.
The activities of the foundation are not confined by borders. A number of projects have been implemented in different countries of the world. A school in Muzaffarabad which was built in place of one destroyed by 2005 devastating earthquake is not only a part of “Support to Education” project of H Aliyev Foundation, but a manifestation of the brotherhood between Pakistan and Azerbaijan as well.
“Light Your Fire!” - this is a name of the contest which symbolises Azerbaijan, known as a Land of Fires. The Eurovision 2012 will be held in “Baku Cristal Hall” concert hall which is located on the shore of the Caspian Sea, near the State Flag Square.
The Hall, whose total capacity is 23,000 seats and which opens up a magnificent view of the city, is being constructed with the use of latest technological achievements. The walls of the building will be covered with crystals which will create quite amazing visual effect with the play of light on it. A press centre for journalists, who intend to cover the contest, will be located next to the hall.
Large television screens will be installed in different parts of the city and will also display the contest. This complex will become the largest sports and concert arena of the South Caucasus. Its architecture is a “bridge” between East and West. It is also worth noting that Baku Crystal Hall was included in the list of sports arenas as part of our country’s appeal to host the Olympics in 2020. Along with Eurovision, other cultural events will be held too.
Less than two months are left till the beginning of the contest and much has been done so far. The representatives and experts of the European Broadcasting Union highly estimated the level of country’s preparation for the all-European Song Contest. Specific tasks aimed at upgrading urban infrastructure, expansion of communication technologies, comfortable accommodation of guests and participants, have been set for the authorities involved in the Organising Committee. Along with improving the existing hotels, new hotels are being built in the capital, and the work to improve highways is underway. By order of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, visa obtaining process for the contest participants and guests has been simplified. Everything possible is being done to adequately host and organise this contest in the country.
The views expressed by Mehriban Aliyeva, chairperson of Eurovision 2012 contest, in her interview to the “Trend” information agency of Azerbaijan is a vivid manifestation of the spirit of the event and the good will of the hosts from the brotherly Azerbaijan.
She said, “The language of music is clear to everyone, regardless of nationality and religion. And it is very symbolic that representatives of different countries, different styles of music will be on the same stage, songs will be heard in different languages in these days of May. For most of its participants, guests and spectators, it will be the first meeting with our country. I am confident that the upcoming contest will help many people to learn more about Azerbaijan, get acquainted with its history and culture. Many guests will see how beautiful Baku is, will visit historical and cultural monuments, and will walk along the streets, architecture of which harmoniously combines the East and the West. They will see our people’s warmth and hospitality with their own eyes. I hope that most of them will make their own idea of ancient and rapidly developing Azerbaijan. And leaving the Land of Fire, many of them will take piece of this fire in their soul – it is not for nothing that the motto of our contest is “Light Your fire!” I wish all participants success, audience sympathy, applause, and, of course, votes. I am pleased to invite the participants and guests to our beautiful and sunny Baku. I am confident that this meeting with a festival will leave the most pleasant memories of all who will come for Eurovision in May. I say to all of them: Welcome!”