A cauldron with the Olympic flame burns in front of...

A cauldron with the Olympic flame burns in front of the ancient Parthenon temple at the Acropolis hill, Friday, April 19, 2024. The flame that will burn at the summer Olympics is spending the night at the ancient Acropolis in Athens, a week before its handover to Paris 2024 organizers. Credit: AP/Petros Giannakouris

ATHENS, Greece — The flame that will burn at the Olympics is spending the night at the ancient Acropolis in Athens, a week before its handover to Paris 2024 organizers.

During a lull in heavy rain late Friday, a torchbearer lit a cauldron in front of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, on the citadel that dominates the Athens skyline and is Greece’s top tourist draw.

The flame will stay there until Saturday morning, when the champagne-colored torch travels to Delphi, an important ancient Greek religious center, before reaching the town of Volos in central Greece.

Ceremoniously lit on Tuesday at the ruined birthplace of the ancient Games, Olympia in southern Greece, the flame is being carried around Greece by a string of torchbearers. Parts of the relay are being made by ferry or plane.

The flame will be delivered to French officials next Friday at the renovated ancient marble stadium where the first modern games were held in 1896. At Athens' port of Piraeus it will board the Belem, a French three-masted sailing ship — built in 1896 — to be transported to France.

The flame is due to reach the southern French port city of Marseille on May 8, and will travel through France in the buildup to the July 26 opening ceremony in Paris.

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