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Where will the 2016 Olympic torch go?

Today is the Olympic torch lighting ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event is the official first day of the Olympic season. 

The torch will not be lit in Rio. Instead it is done in the Greek city of Olympia where the first Olympic games were held. The torch will be kept in Olympia until the 27th, and then handed over to Rio’s Olympic organizers who will then tour the world and Brazil before ending up in Rio for the start of the 2016 Summer Games.

It is estimated that over 90 percent of the population of Brazil will have the opportunity to view the torch before it reaches Maracana Stadium.

The origin of the flame can be traced back to the first Olympics in ancient Greece, when the flame was lit to honor the ancient Greek Gods, Zeus, Hera and Hestia. Today the flame represents the positive values that humans have associated with fire: light, energy and creation.

The torch's beautiful design this year, is representational of Brazil’s rich cultural heritage, evoking the “harmonious diversity, contagious energy and exuberant nature of the country with ground, sea, mountains, sky and sun represented in the colors of the Brazilian flag.”

The torch will begin its journey in Brazil on May 3rd. It will travel around the country before it reaches its final destination on the 5th of August at the Olympic cauldron held in the main Maracana Stadium.

This year's particular route was chosen so that the optimal number of Brazilians would get to view the Olympic torch and flame.

We want to show the world the chemistry that we believe will be born when the Olympic flame meets the warmth of the Brazilian people. It would be impossible to mount such a logistical plan without working together with the governments and their public servants, such as in security, traffic control and public order. Some cities will also organise celebrations to mark the end of the Torch Relay every day.” - Carlos Arthur Nuzman (President 2016 Rio Olympic Games)  

So what is the torch’s journey?

This year's trip includes 83 cities, 26 state capitals and 500 towns. Each of the 12,000 torchbearers will carry the torch 200 meters of the journey, which will stretch across 20,000 km of Brazilian roadways and fly16,000km across the North and Midwestern part of the country. 

300 towns will have the opportunity to host the torchbearers, while 200 will have the opportunity to watch the relay pass through.

The route will show case the rich diversity in landscape and culture through the country, some highlights include: 

The torch’s starting route in Brazil

Then it will travel into the country’s center-west region, to the historic town of Pirenópolis 

And then on into the Southeast regions, entering Minas Gerais 

and Espírito Santo.

Then the torch heads to the North East and passes through the sand dunes of Maranhão.

A photo posted by @apaixonadoporfotografias on

and the mystical Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) of Piauí. 

On to the southern region where it will vist the 17th century ruins of São Miguel das Missões,

and the picturesque Iguaçu Falls. 

A photo posted by Tiki P #Dubai (@ticky_p) on

Finally the relay passes through the country’s north coast of São Paulo,

A photo posted by São Paulo (@splovers) on

 before it arrives to the 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony.

You can follow the 2016 Olympic torch during its entire route here.