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Magical night in Luxor with a spectacular fireworks display

Magical night in Luxor with a spectacular fireworks display

The FIFA U-20 World Cup is not merely a highly prestigious tournament in its own right. It is also endowed with a long and rich history. The second biggest and second oldest FIFA tournament was first held in 1977, and will be staged for the 17th time in Egypt later this year.

A suitably momentous sense of the past infused Sunday’s spectacular Final Draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2009, as the ceremony was set against the mystical and exotic surroundings of the Temple of Luxor. The 3,000-year-old structure, one of Egypt’s most significant and well-preserved monuments, provided a fittingly sumptuous backdrop to a glittering show entitled “Welcome to the land of magic".

The 300 or so guests were greeted at the site by a long and colourful parade. Troupes of costumed dancers and musicians portrayed the rich and diverse cultural traditions of the host nation, laying on a warm and colourful reception. Music from the opera Aida accompanied guests en route to the ceremony itself, staged in the temple’s inner court.

The ceremony opened with a short documentary examining the varied facets of Egypt as a tourism and holiday destination, focusing on the nation’s architectural, sightseeing and sporting infrastructure. The stunning images, accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display, provoked a strong emotional response and even greater sense of anticipation ahead of the tournament, which opens at the end of September this year.

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