Moscow’s anniversary celebration in January 1847

January 18
Culture

The first city anniversary was celebrated in January 1847 when the city turned 700. Moscow’s archives hold unique documents about the first City Day, which has been an annual festival only since 1987.

Choosing a date

Nineteenth-century historians often wondered when Moscow was founded. Many agreed with Nikolai Karamzin and Ivan Zabelin and considered 1147, when the city was first mentioned in the Hypatian Codex, as the starting point.

Publicist and memoir author Fyodor Glinka wrote in the Moskovskiye Vedomosti newspaper that the meeting between princes Yury and Svyatoslav took place on 28 March or 4–5 April 1147 in an old city “that was a tiny mark on Russian soil back then.” The meeting was historic and “went down in history as if it was truly a planted seed of the grand future.”

Fyodor Glinka. The 700th anniversary of Moscow. Pages of the article. Moskovskiye Gubernskiye Vedomosti. 1847. Issue No. 2. Moscow Main Archive Directorate

The idea of celebrating the anniversary of Moscow’s founding belonged to renowned cultural and public figures, representatives of Moscow authorities and Metropolitan Filaret of Moscow and Kolomna. They believed the festival would highlight the city’s dominance in the important events of Russian history. Activities for all social classes were planned, from  church services to balls, from street festivities with treats to art exhibitions. It was also proposed to publish biographies of prominent Muscovites and books on Moscow history with a description of landmarks, daily life and local customs.

A notice from the dispatch office of the Moscow City Six-Estate Duma to the Moscow Urban Society on the highest order to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Moscow on 1 January 1847, and a directive by the Moscow Governor General, Prince Alexei Shcherbatov, on charging the merchant community for the street lighting on Red Square and in market stalls. 28 December 1846. A notice from the dispatch office of the Moscow City Six-Estate Duma to the Moscow Urban Society on the highest order to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Moscow on 1 January 1847, and a directive by the Moscow Governor General, Prince Alexei Shcherbatov, on charging the merchant community for the street lighting on Red Square and in market stalls. 28 December 1846. Moscow Main Archive Directorate

The anniversary date was chosen quickly, and it was not a date in spring as one would expect. Emperor Nicholas I ordered the holding of festivities on 1 January 1847, the first day of the eighth century since the founding of Moscow. The initially proposed scale of the celebration was considerably dialed down.

Festive day

On the morning of 1 January 1847 (13 January according to the Gregorian calendar), all Moscow churches held liturgy services to mark the occasion. The main prayer service was held at the Chudov Monastery of the Moscow Kremlin where Metropolitan Filaret of Moscow and Kolomna said a payer for the 700th anniversary of Moscow. After the festive service, church bells were heard ringing all over the city.

Message by Metropolitan Filaret of Moscow and Kolomna about the liturgy at the Cathedral of the Chudov Monastery and the festive bell-ringing on 1 January 1847 in all city churches. 30 December 1846. Moscow Main Archive Directorate

In the evening, festive lights illuminated Moscow streets. Here is how Fyodor Glinka described the day: “Long lines of benches were embellished with wide illuminated ribbons, and lamp posts were wrapped with lights. The pedestal of the Minin and Pozharsky statue was also lit up; on each side of the statue, there were two tall pyramids with celebratory writings. The Imperial Moscow University decorated with lights and many other buildings attracted crowds of spectators. Long lines of carriages moved along the streets in the pink glow of this lighting. Moscow welcomed the year 1847 and its own 700th anniversary with brightness and joy.”

Fyodor Glinka. The 700th anniversary of Moscow. Pages of the article. Moskovskiye Gubernskiye Vedomosti. 1847. Issue No. 2. Moscow Main Archive Directorate

The next big anniversary was celebrated only 100 years later, on 7 September 1947. It was then that ground was broken for the statue of Moscow’s founder, Yury Dolgoruky, as well as for the famous Stalinist high-rises. The city’s 850th anniversary in 1997 was marked by a grand performance on Tverskaya Street, a laser show by Jean-Michel Jarre at Vorobyovy Gory and a concert on the square at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.  

Source: mos.ru

Share
If you continue to use our website, you are agreeing to accept the use of cookies on your device. Cookie files ensure the website’s efficiency and help us provide you with the most interesting and relevant information. Read more about cookie files.
Accept ccokies