864 is a big number. Very big, especially in birthdays. The first weekend in September is celebrated as “Moscow Day” in recognition of Moscow’s role as capital of Russia. While it apparently existed prior, at least in recorded history Moscow has earned the right to celebrate birthday number 864 this year.
The day was celebrated in April until the 1960’s when changed to September and includes music and light shows all over the city, street fairs and special vendors, children’s activities and parades. City planners were ready with activities happening all over Europe’s largest city (population 12 million).
This year the largest ever music-light and fireworks show was projected onto the main building of Moscow State University in the Sparrow Hills. The main University building boasts a 25,500 square-meter surface, is one of Stalin’s “Seven Sisters” of Moscow and has been listed in the Guinness World Records with a height of 240 meters.
The light show this year was produced by Australian David Atkins who is known for his design of the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Shanghai World Expo festivities. Authorities say more than 100,000 people attended the light show.
Light show workers spent more than 6 months in planning and during the show used 81 giant projectors and over 5,000 individual fireworks.
The celebration of the Day of Moscow begins in the morning and lasts until the late hours of the night. Moscow residents consider it as one of the main celebrations each year and many residents from across Russia travel to the capital city for the event each year.
(photos of light show at Moscow State University: Aida/Mendeleyev Journal)