A delegation from the World Committee of Pan-Armenian Games, led by Committee Chairman Ishkhan Zakaryan, paid a visit to Eastern Turkey (Western Armenia) from July 8 to 13.

During the official reception at the Van City Hall, Zakaryan presented the history of these sports games. He informed that, as a sign of unity among the Armenians worldwide, three Pan-Armenian Games’ torches will be lit to symbolize the Karabakh-Diaspora-Motherland trinity.

The first two torches have been lit up, and the third torch was planned to be lit at the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross, on the island of Akhtamar in Lake Van, Turkey.

The mayor of Van, for his part, considered it a great honor for them to participate in this initiative, and to accompany the World Committee of Pan-Armenian Games delegation to Akhtamar.

Subsequently, at the Holy Cross Church, the torch was lit with the candles that were lit inside the church.

At the end of the event, the mayor of Van presented gifts to the Armenian delegation members, and gladly accepted Ishkhan Zakaryan’s invitation to the 6th Pan-Armenian Games’ opening ceremony, which will be held in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan.

Next, the Pan-Armenian Games’ torch was taken to Bitlis and Diyarbakir cities of Turkey.

In Bitlis, the Armenian delegation was received by Mayor Hüseyin Olan. He informed that a delegation, led by him, will attend the opening ceremony of the 6th Pan-Armenian Games.

Zakaryan and Olan also discussed the matter of restoration of the prominent American Armenian writer William Saroyan’s family home in Bitlis, and the decision on renaming a Bitlis city street after him.

Next, in Diyarbakir, the World Committee of Pan-Armenian Games’ delegation was welcomed by Co-Mayor Fırat Anlı, and Mayor Fatma Şık Barut of Sur district of Diyarbakir. The mayor of Diyarbakir underscored their attendance to the opening ceremony of the 6th Pan-Armenian Games.

Afterward, the torch headed toward Mus, Erzurum, and Ani.

Songs devoted to Ani, the ancient capital city of Armenia, were song at the Armenian Cathedral of Ani.

After Kars and Ani, the Armenian delegation traveled to Javakhk—Georgian name: Javakheti, which is a predominantly-Armenian-populated part of Georgia’s southeastern Samtskhe-Javakheti Province. During the speeches delivered there, it was noted that Javakheti cities will participate in the 6th Pan-Armenian Games with a large delegation.

Subsequently, the torch, which was lit at the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akhtamar in Lake Van, will travel to Armenia’s Gyumri city and Sardarapat village. And after receiving the blessing of the Catholicos of All Armenians at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, it will enter the Republican Stadium named after Vazgen Sargsyan, in Yerevan, on August 2.