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The city encased in cultural richness - Moscow celebrates 873rd birthday

14 September 2020 - Jamaica Gleaner

Cities, they are much more than brick and mortar. They have a soul, and beyond their architectural manifestations, their existence and heartbeats reside in the people who live in them. Ask any resident of any city on this planet. Despite the trials and tribulations of their daily lives, they find love and affection for the city in some manifestations.

Moscow is a city that has lived to see the trials and tribulations of human history. For over eight centuries as mankind, or the way we go about our daily lives has evolved, the city has stood steadfast and witnessed them all.

The official website of the mayor of Moscow traces the history of the city back to 1147, when it was mentioned in the chronicles for the first time. The early 12th century saw Kievan Rus disintegrate into many separate principalities.

During this period, Prince Yury Dolgoruky of Rostov and Suzdal (1090–1157) began to build new towns and communities. Pereslavl Zalessky, Yuriev Polsky, and Dmitrov were just a few of his early projects. There were villages scattered along the Moskva River at that time. It was the best location for a walled town, a border point.

Wooden Kremlin walls were erected to protect the residents of the former villages. After some time, the town started to be called Moscow, derived from the Moskva River.

“Being the World Travel Awards 2019 first-prize winner, Moscow certainty has plenty to offer to its guests,” said Aleksei Sazonov, head of the Consular Section at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Jamaica

“Numbers speak for themselves: in 2019, more than 45 million people visited the Russian capital for excursions, and in addition to that, roughly 20 million of the visitors stayed in the city for more than a day.”

CELEBRATING THE ARTS

As much as 2020 has brought challenges, Moscow still celebrated its birthday in the first week of September, and this year, the celebrations were centred around the city’s museums. There are about 450 museums and galleries in Moscow, and in 2019, Moscow hosted 1,600 exhibitions. Moscow can be considered one of the leading museum capitals in the world.

As the epidemiological situation in Moscow stabilised and numbers of new COVID-19 cases were dropping to roughly four per cent every week for almost two months, it was decided that the 2020 Day of Moscow had to be held on its usual dates – the first weekend of September.

This year,the 873th Russian capital’s birthday was celebrated under the theme “Moscow museums”.

The anniversary was dedicated to the repositories that showcase Moscow’s priceless masterpieces; the testimonies to its victories; and its achievements in culture, science, technology, and sports. On September 5 and 6, City Day was celebrated at more than 40 venues located around Moscow as well as in its parks.

“This year, more than 450 museums and art galleries, of which 86 were free to visitors, provided city dwellers and guests with probably the most intellectual holiday of the year,” Sazonov said. “Various exhibitions were designed to tell story of the city’s glorious past, renown art masterpieces, prominent science and technology, as well as beautiful nature of the Capital region.”

Several parks in Moscow were decorated to represent the evolution of the city over the centuries – offering a small time travel to their visitors.

The weekend was replete with festivities – from the Moscow book fair or the Quiz Arena and the visitors getting a chance to pilot a drone during the drone race event, to the haute cuisine at the Taste of Moscow Festival.

For children and art lovers, the municipal government organised more than 1,200 of plein air venues, artistic workshops,and masterclasses in various parts of the city.

Sazonov is encouraging more Jamaicans to visit Russia,and particularly Moscow, on their next vacation.

“Since 2018, Russia and Jamaica have a visa waiver agreement in force, which allows visa-free mutual visits for nationals of both countries,” he said, adding that he was hopeful that some semblance of normalcy would soon prevail. “Although the epidemiological situation isn’t favourable,we hope that the two consecutive years practice of seasonal direct flights between Moscow and Montego Bay will be continued later this year,” he said.

As of this moment, since we are practising all protocols, let us wish Moscow a happy birthday and enjoy the celebrations from a distance.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

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