On the first weekend in September, Moscow has traditionally celebrated its city day. This year, the festivities have been moved to the weekend of 10th and 11th September in a bid to separate the celebrations from the commemorations of victims of tragic events and the Solidarity Against Terrorism day which this year would have clashed.
The city was first mentioned in 1147 when Prince Yuri Dolgoruky founded what was to become the most important city in Russia. He celebrated his success with a party on the banks of the Moskva River, rewarding his troops for their loyalty and, no doubt, toasting the future. 869 years later, it’s still a big deal. Streets are closed and an extravaganza of concerts, sporting events and gastronomic delights are conjured up to provide a treat for native Muscovites and their visitors.
As 2016 has been the Year of Russian Cinema, Moscow will be transformed into a giant open air cinema. Following a poll, ten of the most popular movies will be broadcast on the big screen. Top of the chart was Love and Doves, gaining 11% of the vote. It will be joined by other favourites such as Beware of the Car and The Striped Voyage. A series of pop-up food outlets in and around Tverskaya Street will echo the themes of selected films. How about tasting fish meteorites in the Visitor from the Future zone or Soviet-era food as a nod to Walking the Streets of Moscow?
Other initiatives to look out for if you’re going to be in Moscow for City Day include the talking statues. Key monuments will come to life as statues of writers and poets recite their works to what’s certain to be an enthralled audience. When polled, locals said that they were keen to hear from Sergei Yesenin’s statue on Tverskoi Boulevard as well as that of Alexander Pushkin. City Day installations will be found throughout the city. Glowing benches are expected to line Novy Arbat, Tverskaya Street and the square in front of the Russian library. Huge 3D greetings cards will provide the backdrop at the VDNKh Exhibition Centre, Gorky Park and Moscow Zoo for a selfie to commemorate the occasion. Museums will offer free admission and Luzhniki will celebrate with a sporting extravaganza. City Day will culminate with fireworks displays in several places across Moscow. The best vantage points are at Pathriarshy Bridge, Krymsky Bridge and Sparrow Hills.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Are you coming to join the party?