Azerbaijan is hosting the first-ever European Games in its capital city of Baku. The 16-day gathering features more than 6,000 athletes from 50 European National Olympic Committees, competing in 253 events in 20 sports. The 2015 European Games follow in the tradition of other continental games established by Olympic Committees, such as the Pan-American Games and the Asian Games. The closing ceremony will take place on June 28. [35 photos total]

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1
The hand of a player with a ball, during the Men’s Water Polo Group D match between Serbia and Malta on day three of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Water Polo Arena on June 15, 2015, in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Matthias Hangst / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Performers depict the Olympic flag of Azerbaijan during the Opening Ceremony for the Baku 2015 European Games at the Olympic Stadium on June 12, 2015. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Performers dance in the Opening Ceremony of the Baku 2015 European Games on June 12, 2015. (Richard Heathcote / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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A performer depicting Europa, a Phoenician princess, rides a white bull representing the Greek god Zeus during the Opening Ceremony of the Baku 2015 European Games on June 12, 2015. (Michael Steele / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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A ring of fire representing a total solar eclipse burns during the Opening Ceremony of the Baku 2015 European Games on June 12, 2015. (Paul Gilham / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Placard bearers display the names of the competing nations during the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 European Games on June 12, 2015. (Michael Steele / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Fireworks erupt over the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Baku 2015 European Games. (Dan Mullan / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Competitors take aim during the Men's Individual Ranking Round during day four of the 2015 European Games at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium on June 16, 2015, in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Harry Engels / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Shireen-Zoe de Vries of the Netherlands, carrying an umbrella decorated as a target, marks her score during the Women's Individual Ranking Round on day four of the 2015 European Games. (Harry Engels / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Athletes compete during the canoe single men’s 200 meter final at the 2015 European Games in Mingachevir, Azerbaijan, on June 16, 2015. (Dmitry Lovetsky / AP) #
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A boy rides a bicycle past the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center ahead of Baku 2015 on June 11, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Tomi Tuuha of Finland competes on the vault, photographed before a large video screen, during the Men's Artistic Gymnastics Team and All Around qualification on day three of Baku 2015. (Paul Gilham / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Athletes start for the Women’s Triathlon Final during day one of the Baku 2015 European Games at Bilgah Beach on June 13, 2015. (Matthias Hangst / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Lukas Fluckiger of Switzerland leads the pack up the climb during the Men’s Cross-country Mountain Bike Cycling on day one of the Baku 2015 European Games at Mountain Bike Velopark. (Harry Engels / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Team Bulgaria compete in the Gymnastics Rhythmic Group All-Round Final on day five of the Baku 2015 European Games. (Robert Prezioso / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Pasi Hirvonen of Finland (left) competes in the Men's Karate Kata elimination round on day two of Baku 2015 at Crystal Hall. (Michael Steele / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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A view of Baku’s Flame Towers, ahead of the first European Games, on June 11, 2015, in Azerbaijan. (Francois Nel / Getty) #
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General view of the stadium at sunset during the Women’s Water Polo Group A match between the Netherlands and Hungary on day three of Baku 2015. (Matthias Hangst / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Romania's Constantin Olaru (red) fights Georgia's Gela Abashidze during the men’s welterweight (69kg) round in Baku on June 17, 2015. (Jack Guez / AFP / Getty) #
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Tina Graudina of Latvia jumps to serve during their preliminary beach volleyball match against Czech Republic at the 1st European Games in Baku on June 16 , 2015. (Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters) #
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Team Greece competes in the synchronized swimming team final at the European Games on June 16 , 2015. (Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters) #
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Team of France perform during synchronized swimming, team free routine final at the 2015 European Games on June 15, 2015. (Dmitry Lovetsky / AP) #
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Broken clay pigeons litter the range in the Men's Trap Shooting qualification on day four of the Baku 2015 European Games. (Matthias Hangst / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Women walk towards the Baku Ferris Wheel, also known as the Baku Eye, in Azerbaijan, on June 15, 2015. (Stoyan Nenov / Reuters) #
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Jean Michel Saive of Belgium eyes the ball during his first round singles table tennis match at the European Games on June 16 , 2015. (Stoyan Nenov / Reuters) #
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Arsenii Egorov of Russia motivates his team prior to the Men's Water Polo Group A match between Russia and France on day three of Baku 2015. (Matthias Hangst / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Mariya Stadnyk (blue) of Azerbaijan and Iwona Matkowska (red) of Poland compete in the Women's wrestling 48kg Freestyle semi final match on day three of the 2015 European Games. (David Ramos / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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A man rides a bicycle past an art installation outside the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, on June 15, 2015. (Stoyan Nenov / Reuters) #
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Team Azerbaijan celebrates after winning the Women's Volleyball Group A match between Italy on day five of Baku 2015. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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An athlete exits the water in the Men's Triathlon Final on day two of the 2015 European Games. (David Ramos / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Nenad Zugaj of Croatia (blue) and Ramsin Azizsir of Germany compete in the Men's Wrestling 85kg Greco Roman bronze final on day two of Baku 2015. (Matthias Hangst / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Istvan Levai (red) of Slovakia fights with Denys Demyankov of Ukraine during their bronze medal fight in the Men's 66Kg greco-roman wrestling at the European Games on June 14 , 2015. (Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters) #
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Russia's gymnasts compete in the acrobatic gymnastics women's group competition at the 2015 European Games on June 17, 2015. (Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP / Getty) #
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Gold medalist team Russia (bottom) exchanges kisses with silver medalists Israel prior to receiving the medals won in the Rhythmic Gymnastics Group All-Around final on day five of Baku 2015. (Matthias Hangst / Getty Images for BEGOC) #
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Davit Chakvetadze of Russia celebrates after winning his gold medal fight in the Men's 85Kg greco-roman wrestling against Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine at the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, on June 14 , 2015. (Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters) #

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