彩神2appIstanbul hosts 1,600 artists for int'l culture, art festival

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ISTANBUL, July 26 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1,500 artists from around 70 countries on Friday gathered in Istanbul for a culture and art festival that will last ten days.

The 20th International Buyukcekmece Culture and Art Festival began with symbolic performances by Spanish, Ukrainian and Panamian dance groups at Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square, which attracted many locals and tourists.

Kate from the Ukrainian dance troupe said she was very excited about performing at the square and "feel very happy."

Milan Mutapcic, assistant director of the Serbian dance troupe, said traditional dances from all parts of his country shall be performed throughout the festival.

"We heard that this is a great festival, and we are very happy to be here," he said, adding the works of his troupe, consisting of 40 amateur dancers, have been recognized by so many people in Serbia.

An international photo contest, traditional, modern and contemporary dance competitions and several other cultural events top the agenda of the festival, organized by the district of Buyukcekmece.

Hasan Akgun, the district's mayor, said the festival is now recognized as a significant international event in Turkey.

"Let us not forget that the path to world peace is the friendship of nations," he said at the opening ceremony.

The festival, on the theme of "Love to each other, Peace for all," is being held in cultural centers and several historic open-air locations across the city.