The count-down has started! It’s 4 months to the 33rd edition of the Huawei Venicemarathon that will be held on Sunday October 28th.
This is not just a simple marathon. The event is also considered a ‘meeting point’ for thousands of athletes coming from all over the world.
It is well known that the city of Venice has always been at a crossroads of people coming both from East and West. Its history dates back to the sixth century and once Venice wasn’t just a city in a larger state: it was one of the greatest trading powers in Europe. It was located at the “finish line” of the Silk Road trade route and consequently became a cosmopolitan city, a true melting pot.
During the middle ages crusades, Venice was one of the wealthiest towns, and the most overcrowded Mediterranean port.
We may say that it was the first multi-cultural town of Europe, where you could easily run into northern European merchants, Slaves, Greeks and Byzantines seamen.
The need to affirm its own cultural and religious variety persuaded numerous foreign communities emigrated to Venice to build here their own real and specific place of worship, giving life to an harmonious twist of architectural forms and artistic traditions.
Just as a mark of the Venetian melting pot of the time, we still have in Venice some buildings or areas like the Fondaco dei Turchi (warehouse of the Turkish), the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (warehouse of the Germans), the church of San Giorgio dei Greci (the greek-orthodox church), Riva degli Schiavoni (the shore of the Slaves), the Isola di San Giorgio degli Armeni (the island of St George of the Armenians, currently one of the most important centers of armenian culture in the world), the Ghetto ebraico (the Jewish ghetto).
We can relive the stages of this history that had seen rise through centuries different religious communities and got developed in the lagoon, through traces of this past, which is still present and which indissolubly linked Venice and the Orient, contributing to feed the myth of Venice as “door to the Orient”.
Every year the Venicemarathon is a unique opportunity for a spectacular run through this unique territory. It exists since 1986 and has become one of the most popular international marathons. 8,000 participants are allowed to take part in the event. Approximately 30% of these athletes comes from abroad – the 2017 edition hosted 77 different nations.
Just a curiosity: the bib number has your name, your country and your country’s flag. It will be cool to look around to see where people come from!