Trabzon – ISF Gymnasiade 2016 is not only about sport, but also about creating new friendships, gaining new experiences and getting to know different cultures. The athletes are giving their best from the beginning of the competition. On Friday, they took a well deserved day off to attend “Cultural day”. They visited many of historical sights, wandered around the city centre and they had a chance to buy some souvenirs to bring back home with them.
I am the first in my family who travels. It is perfect to explore different culture and get to know different religions, admits 17 years old Gabriel from Brazil. He highlighted the moment when the athletes from all around the world started to exchange backpacks, caps and t-shirts. I have made an exchanged with Qatar, Bulgaria and Romania, adds Gabriel with a s,ile on his face.
Athletes visited Hagia Sophia Museum, former Greek Orthodox church. Dating back to the 13th century, when Trabzon was the capital of the empire of Trebizond, the Hagia Sophia constitutes one of the most important monuments of late Byzantine architecture. After the Ottoman Empire took control of the city, it was converted into a mosque and its frescos were covered in whitewash. In 1964 it was restored and put into use as a museum until Turkey’s religious and nationalist right decided to convert it into a mosque again in 2012.
They also saw Atatürk Köşkü, place of founder of Turkish Republic and now a national hero Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Build in 1903, the white mansion offers several rooms furnished with period furniture.
The evening programme consisted of good food, music and dance. The athletes had fun together with young volunteers and listened to different cultural music. It was great and funny to be there and to see it. People danced to music of Brasil, of India, I saw Bulgarian girls dance with girls from India, Brasil boys dance with Turkish girls. It showed me that we are not only Turkey, but we are part of the world, says twenty years old volunteer Fosso originally from Cameroon. The evening celebrated youth, brotherhood and unity – aspects so important for a better future. Learn more about this cultural experience under this link.
Click to watch the video of the Intercultural evening
Lucie Hrdličková – ISF Reporter