Moscow: a Journey of 875 Years

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Moscow will celebrate its 875th anniversary on 10 and 11 September

By Ekaterina Grigorieva

Moscow has many names. The city of the first throne, the golden-domed, a white-stone city, Moscow the Orthodox, Moscow the hospitable, the mother of all Russian cities, the third Rome… So many epithets! So many meanings!

Moscow has fascinated and inspired poets and writers and has often served as the scene for literary works. Chekhov’s short stories, novels by Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Shmelev, Andrei Bely, Mikhail Bulgakov… The Moscow of Vysotsky, Okudzhava and Voinovich…

Moscow has experienced a great deal throughout its centuries-old history. How many times it was almost burned to the ground, but like the mythical Phoenix it shook off the ashes and continued to live, being rebuilt, transformed, and looking even younger.

The city’s favourable location contributed to its prosperity. Having won in civil strife and repelled enemy invasions, it gained economic independence and political influence. In the 16th century the capital of Russia was already one of the largest cities in the world.

The 20th century with its turbulent history – wars and revolutions – changed the face of the city in many ways. In the 1930s, many monasteries and churches in Moscow were destroyed: the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, St Nicetas Convent, the Church of St Demetrius of Thessalonica on Strastnaya (now Pushkinskaya) Square, the Church of St Basil the Great on the 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya Street and dozens of other shrines were lost. On the 5th of December 1931, the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was blown up… but fewer than seventy years later it was reconstructed! Churches that were closed are being given a second life and new ones are being built in the framework of the ‘200 Programme’.

The Moscow of the 21st century is the political, administrative and cultural centre of Russia.

The city is celebrating its 875th anniversary on the 10th and 11th of September. According to the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin, cultural events will be held at almost all venues in the city. The unveiling of the largest Ferris wheel in Europe, ‘The Sun of Moscow’, the International Martial Arts Palace in Luzhniki and many other surprises are scheduled. ‘Muscovites are overcoming all challenges, all these sanctions and difficulties,’ he noted. ‘I believe this is the most important thing about the anniversary. After all, it is not about the number of years, but about the number of the achievements that help us improve the quality of life.’

Moscow… How much within that sound

Is blended for the Russian heart.

How much is echoed there.

A.S. Pushkin. Eugene Onegin

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