Young athletes received the honor of lighting the London Olympic flame as Queen Elizabeth II declared the Summer Games XXX open at a spectacular ceremony in the British capital.
The opening ceremony of the Games, called the ‘The Isles of Wonder’, was designed and coordinated by Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
The idea of the show, which cost the organizers £27 million ($42.5 million) and was inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest, was to showcase the main events in British history.
The Olympic Stadium was turned into a piece of green land, with real animals, including sheep, horses and cows grazing on it.
But throughout the ceremony the rural set transformed into an industrial landscape, in which the Olympic symbol of five rings was forged.
Another highlight of the ceremony was the showing of a short James Bond film, which Boyle directed. Hollywood star Daniel Craig appeared in it as Agent 007, with his co-star being none other than Queen Elizabeth II, who was, of course, playing herself.
The second part of the show was dedicated to Britain’s numerous cultural achievements.
Gigantic figures of characters from world-famous children’s books appeared in front of the 55,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium, with the author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, reading an extract from Peter Pan.
Rock and pop hits ranging from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to The Prodigy and Tinie Tempah became the sound track to extracts from iconic British movies and a performance from hundreds of dancers.
But it wasn’t all about fun as the ceremony also included a minute of silence to mourn the victims of all the wars humanity has ever gone through.
The traditional Parade of Nations was led by Greece where the Olympics were first staged back in 776 BC. Other countries followed in alphabetical order, with tennis star Maria Sharapova being the flag bearer for Russian.
The hosts, Great Britain, were the last to appear in the Olympic Stadium, concluding the parade of the 205 participating countries in the Games.
The national flags were planted on a model of Glastonbury Tor, which was then topped by the Olympic flag.
In his speech, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, pointed out that the London Games will be the first in the Olympics history, at which all the participating teams will have female athletes in their lineup.
The Summer Games in London were officially opened by British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Football star David Beckham delivered the Olympic torch via speed-boat on the River Thames, with five-time Olympic rowing champion, Steven Redgrave, taking it into the arena.
The Olympic flame was lit to the largest harmonically-tuned bell in the world by seven young athletes, who were nominated for the honor by British sporting greats.
Paul McCartney brought the ceremony to a close, with the stadium singing “Hey Jude” together with the former Beatles star.
During the next two weeks, over 10,000 athletes from all over the globe will compete for Olympic medals in the stadiums of London and other UK cities, with the closing ceremony scheduled for August 12.