Torch relay starts in China's "capital of seven dynasties"

2008-07-26 02:44:54 GMT       2008-07-26 10:44:54 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

Torchbearer Ma Ruilai (C) poses with the next torchbearer Liu Tao during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay in Kaifeng, central China's Henan Province, July 26, 2008.(Xinhua photo)

Torchbearer Zheng Haixia runs with the torch during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay in Kaifeng, central China's Henan Province, July 26, 2008. (Xinhua photo)

Torchbearer Shang Yongbo (R) poses with the next torchbearer Gao Yingna during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay in Kaifeng, central China's Henan Province, July 26, 2008.(Xinhua photo)

Spectators greet the torch during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay in Kaifeng, central China's Henan Province, July 26, 2008.(Xinhua photo)

ZHENGZHOU, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Olympic torch continued its journey in China's most populous province Henan on Saturday, with the torch being relayed in Kaifeng, "capital of seven dynasties" in the nation's history.

The torch was lit at the local Kaifeng University around 8 a.m.

"The torch relay will connect Kaifeng with the world," said Liu Changchun, Secretary of the Kaifeng Municipal Committee of the Communist Party, at a grand ceremony before the relay.

Wang Liqun, a Henan celebrity professor who gained great popularity after giving lectures in a national TV program, run the first leg of the relay.

Altogether 208 torchbearers will take part in the relay in Kaifeng.

Located in northeastern Henan, Kaifeng, the largest city in the world during the 11th Century, served for a time as capital of seven dynasties, including the Wei, the Liang and the Han and the Northern Song dynasties.

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