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Moscow just celebrated 872 years since its first mention in historical records (AD 1147). Back then, the city was little more than a small settlement on the Moscow River, which was later fortified. Alexander Nevsky considered it the least valuable of his possessions. But through the centuries of Mongol dominance in the South, Moscow's power and influence grew, having the advantage of being--for the most part--beyond the range of Tatar raids.
How things have changed. Moscow is now a megalopolis of over 13 million, making it the northermost city in the world with a population of 10 million.
This weekend, Moscow is celebrating City Day — 872 years since its foundation. VDNKh has become one of the centers of the festival. The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy celebrated its 80th anniversary. Dozens of bright and fun events were prepared for residents and visitors of the capital over all the city districts. There were concerts, exhibitions, masterclasses, various fairs, folk festivals, and sports events. The holiday culminated in a magnificent, festive fireworks display, which illuminated the Moscow sky yesterday with a thousand colorful volleys.
Olga Armyakova has details on how the capital celebrated this day.
It looks like space! This is a planetary alignment in broad daylight in a fantastic universe called "Moscow". An unearthly beauty and an unthinkable attraction. Even cosmonauts can't help but dance. It seems that this city is hard to surprise but it's not.
The Baikonur Cosmodrome is on Tverskaya Street. The rocket is getting ready to launch. That's really intergalactic scope.
Moscow and Muscovites spun in a festive whirlwind. The main street of the capital suddenly filled with the gold of wheat. And here's the arch of the North VDNKh entrance. The Worker and Kolkhoz Woman sculpture became a living legend.
“It's so beautiful, bright, and colorful here! It's super!”
“Happy birthday, Moscow!”
Today, everything is dedicated to Moscow. The capital of our country is young and beautiful. It's as flirtatious as a girl because age is just a number. She has a lot to remember and to show. But love gets stronger over the years.
“I love Moscow.”
“This is a city of the future and opportunity. Here, everyone can find what they like.”
Moscow is changing, growing rapidly, developing. We're changing along with her. We're growing up, becoming wiser and happier. It seems that no other capital can be this inspirational.
“My dear capital.
My golden Moscow.”
You don't see the president singing every day. Nursultan Nazarbayev sang with Putin. Everyone born in the Soviet Union knows this song. It means that they remember the flourishing VDNKh of the old days. It was a symbol of the abundance of the era. The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy has a date to celebrate as well — 80 years. And it looks as beautiful as ever.
The magnificent palace is like a precious box. This is the delicate and crystal pavilion No. 11 "Kazakhstan" and its pristine beauty which has come back after almost 50 years, after a grand reconstruction. This is a gift for City Day. This Asian tale is about traditions that are carefully preserved. This is a cozy, spacious Kazakh yurt where every detail bears the national colors. There's a festive table in the middle of the yurt. Guests are awaited here.
There are millions of guests. The whole capital celebrated and admired one of the country's main attractions. VDNKh is a pearl and it has started a new life with spouting fountains — the Stone Flower, the Kolos, the Friendship of the People. As confirmation of this very friendship, the pavilions of the former Soviet republics reopened.
Vladimir Putin: “We see how the capital has changed in recent years. A lot has been done. All streets, parks, avenues, every nook of the capital, are all very different. But they harmoniously combine and complement each other. They form a unique ensemble — our Moscow. We all love it and are rightfully proud of it. Keep it up, dear Muscovites. Happy holiday! I wish success and prosperity to Moscow and to our entire motherland.”
This city is not afraid of change and is proud of its history.
Sergey Sobyanin, mayor: "There are 12.5 millions of us in Moscow. We are all different. We have different views, different ages, different professions, but we are all united by the love for our city and our country."
The best city in the world is a gift in itself. But this is a gift for it — an elegant palace in the picturesque park where future champions are brought up. The world's largest rhythmic gymnastics center. Athletes from all over the world come here. These are the stars of our national team. The Averins sisters are preparing for the World Championships, hosted by Baku. It starts in a week.
“At the World Cup, we will win our tickets to the Olympics.”
Their mentor and mother, Irina Viner-Usmanova, is always with them when they practice. She teaches them to win beautifully. She turns talented gymnasts into champions.
Vladimir Putin: “Irina clearly nitpicks you.”
Irina Viner-Usmanova: No, I don't. Russian gymnasts should perform so that there won't be anything to nitpick. Everything should be perfect.”
These guys should be perfect as well. Our swimming team is preparing for the Olympics in Tokyo They now have the best conditions to do so. There's a modern Palace of Water Sports in Luzhniki. It's a five-story complex with 10 Olympic tracks and a water park. The latter is for Muscovites and guests of the capital.
“Moscow, we love you!”
Two days of a festive, a dance marathon, although coming to an end, but the main thing remains — the mood is warm and bright like the summer sun which decided to stay in our beloved city. So, we can just walk along the embankments, bridges, and squares as if reopening Moscow for ourselves.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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