Istanbul 2020: Seven Years Before the Istanbul 2020 Opening Ceremony

August 8, 2013

A preview of the potential intercontinental curtain-raiser and its legacy


Message from Istanbul 2020 Chairman, discount Hasan Arat

Today, 7 August 2013, is exactly one month before the International Olympic Committee selects the host city of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is also exactly seven years before Istanbul 2020’s Opening Ceremony will take place should the city have the honour of being chosen in September.

So what better moment to introduce to you some more details of Istanbul 2020’s ceremonies concept and what that concept promises for the future of Istanbul and its citizens?

Istanbul 2020 has pledged to embody the unifying values of the Olympic Movement by staging the Games on two continents simultaneously for the first time ever. Very early in the planning process, we made the decision to activate the Games across the entire city – East and West, Europe and Asia.

Not only would it deliver an immersive, unforgettable experience of a brand new culture for the Olympic Movement, it would have immense symbolic power. At the Opening Ceremony, the continents would come together physically and figuratively for an unprecedented celebration of harmony in diversity.

The Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee invites you to discover our vision for an Opening Ceremony that will cross continents and cultures, nations and generations.

A city of celebrations


Istanbul is the focal point for Turkey’s annual Republic Day festivities. On 29 October every year, nearly 200,000 people line the banks of the Bosphorus in a city-wide celebration of the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The municipality has built up a wealth of first-hand experience in convening and managing these major public gatherings safely, and Istanbul 2020 has drawn upon this experience in creating a feasible and risk-free plan for the biggest party yet. The people of Istanbul love to come together in celebration in their hundreds of thousands, and the city knows just how to create an enjoyable and inclusive atmosphere.

A dedicated ceremonies stadium


Istanbul 2020 would be the first Games in history to have a dedicated ceremonies stadium: the Bosphorus Stadium. It would seat 70,000 in a horseshoe configuration – a classical amphitheatre built to cutting-edge specifications. The bowl of the Bosphorus Stadium would look out across the Bosphorus strait towards the Golden Horn and some of Istanbul’s most iconic architecture, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Galata Tower. The Bosphorus Stadium’s breathtaking waterfront location would give plenty of opportunity to activate the waterway itself in exciting and creative ways.

Athletes: spectators and spectacle


If Istanbul is elected host city, athletes will play a full part in our Opening Ceremony, as stars of the show and as spectators. For the first time ever, all 10,000 athletes will have reserved seats in the stand: no waiting time, no holding time and a full view of the celebrations guaranteed.

Istanbul 2020 has developed a transport plan specifically for the ceremonies. Athletes will use an existing Bus Rapid Transit lane to ensure fast, reliable transit times and keep disruption to athletes’ preparation schedules to an absolute minimum.