Moscow - a city where history is made

In September, the Russian capital celebrated City Day - Moscow’s 870th anniversary. In anticipation of the event, there was a “Moscow Anniversary - 870” festival held in the center and many city districts. The festival was dedicated to the extraordinary contribution the city and its inhabitants made to our global heritage.

The main celebrations took place on Tverskaya, Poklonnaya, and Red Square, as well as at Vorobyevy Gory

The opening ceremony for City Day started at noon on September 9, at Red Square. This space is typically used to launch all City Day celebrations. This year, all events were brought together by a single theme: “Moscow - a city where history is made.” The Red Square was transformed into a theatre stage. There were plays about how Moscow was established and developed, including scenes from Ancient Rus and modern history.

Moscow’s contribution to the development of science, medicine, art, and sports - a whole chronicle of the city’s history unfolded before the audience. For Ancient Moscow, the Red Square had artefacts found during digs that took place within the “My Street” project. For Poetic Moscow, Pushkin and Lermontov walked along the square and read poetry about their favorite city. Elizabeth of Russia opened the first Russian university. The 20th century is a difficult period of war and the triumph of will and courage. The Bolshoi Theatre showed Swan Lake, and Mosfilm filmed movies that later became international classics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin congratulated Moscow residents with the holiday. The President called Moscow a center that draws in talent. According to Putin, Moscow is one of the most modern mega-cities in the world. Sergey Sobyanin congratulated Muscovites with the city’s anniversary and thanked them for their contribution to the city’s development. The mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin also expressed his gratitude to Vladimir Putin for the support he provided during the implementation of major infrastructure projects in the capital.

The topic of reconstruction was also brought up. In 2017, 22 million kilometers of roads were upgraded (that’s over one thousand streets), 2 million trees were planted in the city’s center, and 125 new leisure areas have been opened. The city’s mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that over 4 million people receive social benefits.

The head of government explained that reconstruction is never a simple matter. He compared it to doing renovations in your apartment, which are always “too soon or too late to start.” He pointed out that the Moscow government took an attentive and proactive approach to reconstructions, consulting the city’s residents in the process. “A large-scale reconstruction project is currently under way. It was undertaken in accordance with the city’s status as one of the largest megacities in the world and, of course, before anything for the sake of increasing the standard of living and comfort for Muscovites,” Putin added.

Opening of Zaryadye Park

After the festive concert on Red Square, Vladimir Putin and Sergey Sobyanin opened Zaryadye Park, located in the capital’s center.

“In 2012, you instructed us to turn this abandoned area into a park. We had a lot of options at the time - the construction of a huge commercial center, some even suggested building a parliamentary center. Nonetheless, we made this decision, which was supported by nearly all city residents, because there had never been any parks within the confines of the Boulevard Ring,” the mayor of Moscow reported to the President.

According to Sergey Sobyanin, there is a new comfortable space in the city center now. The park was also integrated with historical landmarks such as the Patriarchal house, churches and cathedrals.

Sergey Sobyanin pointed out that Zaryadye is a unique park. “This is an educational and cultural space. Two big educational centers: the media center and the Ice Cave. The Conservation Embassy is also an educational center, a philharmonic hall with 1,600 seats,” the mayor clarified.

Vladimir Putin thanked Sergey Sobyanin for the park. The President of Russia and the mayor of Moscow visited the media center together, where they saw a high tech media complex with a panoramic screen and interactive images on the floor. The screen was showing the film “Time Machine Zaryadye.”

They also visited the large amphitheater with 1,600 seats. The head of state and the mayor of Moscow ascended the unique floating bridge, a complex 70-meter structure that connects the park with the river, and which has become one of the largest observation platforms in Moscow with a view of the Kremlin.

After visiting the park, Vladimir Putin and Sergei Sobyanin visited Cafe Zaryadye, where a lunch was held for schoolchildren from Moscow, children from large families and boarding school kids who were invited to visit Zaryadye first.

It is expected that the park will be visited by 10 million people a year. Zaryadye will be a major recreational area, an important tourist site, as well as a new symbol of Russia. It can become the standard of development for parks in the country.

Celebrations on city streets

Tverskaya Street was one of the key celebrations venues. It turned into an exclusively pedestrian street on City Day. 100 creative workshops and 70 interactive athletic programs were put together for guests here.

The street was divided into six zones: Moscow conquers, Moscow builds, Moscow invents, Moscow opens, Moscow creates, and Moscow sets records. They were devoted to the achievements of the capital in the field of space exploration, inventions and scientific breakthroughs, culture and art, as well as athletic victories. Organizers selected over 500 artists, scientists and athletes. They included the best football goalkeeper of the XX century Lev Yashin, ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, painter Vasily Kandinsky, composer Alexander Skryabin, the first woman to go into open space Svetlana Savitskaya, and many others.

The reconstruction of the concert of the legendary Persimfans orchestra, created in the capital in 1922, was shown for the first time on Tverskaya Street. This was announced by the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Economic Policy and Property and Land Relations Natalya Sergunina.

"Moscow theaters, music and choreographic groups performed non-stop on four stages of the ‘Moscow creates’ platform. Guests of the festival watched the performances of Bolshoi ballet soloists, listened to classical music performed by the soloists of the Helikon-Opera theater, saw scenes from plays of theaters such as Lenkom, the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater, and the Tabakov Theatre,” she said.

In just two days, actors from 30 theaters and participants of 50 musical and dance groups performed at the festival.

"Moscow conquers" and "Moscow sets records" were especially popular. At the first venue, "Moscow conquers" guests were photographed against the background of art objects - the Salyut-7 orbital station and the moon rover. At the second venue, visitors watched shows (parkour and velofristyle were especially popular) and participated in workshops. More than 500 people took part in open training sessions on the climbing wall in the form of Moscow City towers.

An athletic festival in honor of the City Day was held at Luzhniki stadium. It was visited by 190,000 guests. Luzhniki hosted 50 different events, where guests could participate in different sports. Guests could take part in family sports competitions, workshops by well-known athletes, and watch dance performances. Everyone could play chess, table tennis, and mini-ping-pong. Luzhniki also hosted a remote-control car championship, where spectators were taught the basics of piloting drones. There were spaces for arm-wrestling and throwing tires. Moreover, there was a fitness festival, the Moscow Ethno-Sport Festival, International pull-up day, and a concert.

The country’s main exhibition, VDNKh, hosted half a million people for Moscow Day. Over 50 different events were put together for guests. The main event was “The City of Children,” which was dedicated to architecture this year. The kids could try on roles like construction worker, designer, engineer, or landscape expert. There were 17 interactive “City of Children” platforms at VDNKh. 100 organizers helped visitors get around. The main art exhibit was “Colorful City,” which was created by the British architect Peter Fink. The alley in front of pavilion No.66 hosted an open-air museum where young Muscovites learned about the history of architecture, made masks, and built cardboard houses. The Lego area was also a hit among visitors. It was visited by 12,000 people over the weekend.

Poklonnaya Hill is usually one of the most popular places to celebrate city holidays. On City Day, guests came here to watch concerts dedicated to the holiday.

Aside from the concert program, Poklonnaya Hill hosted “Horse Traditions of Russia” performances on September 10. The participants demonstrated the art of horseback riding and the best traditions of equestrian ceremonies. Guests could watch performances by horseback riders wearing historical uniforms, parades, and more.

City day in numbers

  • According to Forbes, total expenses amounted to 500-700 million rubles. Deputy Mayor of Moscow Natalya Sergunina says City Day celebrations cost the capital’s budget 500 million rubles.
  • The funds spent on setting up City Day events will be returned to the city budget in taxes, according to Alexey Nemeryuk, head of the Moscow Department of Trade and Services. “10 million people attended City Day events in Moscow. This brought an additional 44 billion rubles into the city economy. Thanks to the big number of guests, we will get two rubles in taxes for every ruble we invested.”
  • 11.5 million people attended City Day events in two days, according to the head of the city Department of Regional Security and Anti-Corruption Activities. There weren’t as many visitors last year (about 10 million).
  • The two-day program included a total of 427 major events, with participation from 100 museums, dance troupes, and musical and theatre collectives.
  • 4,500 actors, musicians, speakers, and athletes entertained guests during City Day celebrations.
  • Performers from 30 theatres and 50 musical and dance collectives put on shows for City Day celebrations.
  • Over 400 concerts, tours, photo exhibitions, and theatre productions took place during the holiday. There were a total of 300 sites open to guests all over the city. The largest venue, located on Tverskaya, was 2,000 square meters in size. It features installations dedicated to WWII and classical music performances by Bolshoi Theatre soloists.
  • There were 200 art objects on Tverskaya, including cutouts of prominent buildings in Moscow and the Salut-7 space station.
  • Muscovites consumed over 30,000 portions of ice cream on city day. Aside from traditional flavors, there was Borodinsky bread ice cream. Guests could also sample ten dishes and drinks that were created within the scope of the “Time of Moscow Kitchen” project. A lot of people enjoyed kulebyaka prepared in accordance with a recipe from the 19th century, as well as belyash, shish kebabs, and raf-coffee.
  • On September 9, public transport and taxis gave rides to over 11.6 million passengers. The most popular public transportation routes in Moscow were operating until 3.00am.
  • The Lastochka trains on Moscow Central Circle transported 494,000 passengers on City Day. 293,000 of them took the MCC on September 9th. Lastochka trains operated all night on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The “Extraordinary People” festival in Gorky Park and Muzeon Park was attended by 450,000 people.
  • The holiday culminated with fireworks. On September 9, over 13,000 fireworks lit up the sky across 30 different venues. 17 venues were located in city parks. There was also a pyrotechnic show across the river from Luzhniki and in 13 concert venues in the city.



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