Monday, 5 September 2011

Moscow Day

Moscow day is a celebration of the founding of the city and is held on the first Sunday in September - and that happens to be today. Stepping out today the insanely manic street - Tverskaya, is empty of traffic. Someone has organised children's pony rides and pedestrians are taking each others picture sitting on the central white line of one of Moscow's busiest streets.

This street, like many others, is blocked off by parked trucks and its amusing to watch huge black limos racing up & being waved away by the police. A flatbed truck pulls up and a five piece jazz band begins to play modern jazz for an hour. When it moves off another appears blaring techno music with pom-pom dancing girls - bizarre but brilliant.

Lots of street traders have set up stalls selling drinks, snacks, flags, balloons, face painting, trinkets etc. The free market may be flourishing but not every stallholder has got the right idea - one oldish lady stood behind her miniture glass animals frowning at anyone that approached, snapping answers and sometimes turning her back on potentional customers - she sold nothing while I watched.

At the other end of Tverskaya in a large blocked off square a huge free street concert is underway - there was a crooner who received a modest round of applause, then a Diva appeared & tried to whip up some enthusisam - two or three people put their arms in the air & waved feebly in time with her. She was followed by a high intensity heavy rock band that drew cheers and plenty of animation from the crowd. Later in the evening a concert orchestra played Tchaikovsky and the city was lit up like a Christmas tree - so something for everyone. And this isn't even the city centre.

Moscow is a city of up to 15 million so this must have been a logistical headacre but what a brilliant & sucessful city-wide celebration. If you're planning on a visit to Moscow - the first Sunday in September would be a good date to choose.

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