Moscow turns 871 this September and the City Day holiday is a big deal to its residents. It’s not too late to book a trip to the Russian capital and join in with the celebrations. Here’s what to expect if you do.
Moscow was founded in 1147. While Russia might struggle to shake off its serious image with the rest of the world, you can’t go wrong with a capital that came into being after a party. Prince Yuri Dolkgoruky wanted to thank his loyal troops for standing by him and did so with a bash on the banks of the Moskva River that marked the birth of a city. Even he couldn’t have known how important Moscow would go on to be, but its 21st century inhabitants are more than happy to continue the festivities that he started all those years ago.
These days, City Day is marked with a host of different events and activities which kick off in Red Square at midday on 8th September. There’s a parade along Tverskaya Street with floats and city officials making their way to the Kremlin. There are also street entertainers, fairs and live music concerts. Some public transport is diverted to accommodate events, but the Metro runs until 2am making it easy to get back to your hotel at the end of the night.
Best of all for the visitor, something like eighty of the city’s museums offer free admission, including the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, the GULAG History Museum and the Pushkin Memorial Apartment. It’s a good opportunity to try some of the city’s more unusual museums, such as the Alexander Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora, Old English Court Museum or the Museum of Naive Art. Make sure you check opening hours, though, as these can be shorter than normal.
Each year, the City Day festivities have a theme, and this year that theme is “Kind Moscow 871”. You can bet there’ll also be plenty of incredible food giving you the opportunity to taste some of Russia’s famous cuisine. There are creative and culinary masterclasses; watch skilled artisans showcase their talent in pottery, blacksmithing and glass blowing, all of which make great souvenirs to take home. The celebrations come to a close with a fireworks extravaganza. Thousands of fireworks will light up the sky over Moscow as Muscovites toast to another year of good health and prosperity.
Cheers to that and congratulations Moscow!