As part of the Moscow Spring festival, the garden in front of the Bolshoi Theatre will host a biblical-era city, with green palm trees and ancient temples made of sand. Its main inhabitants will be “people of Jerusalem”, 10 men, women and children made of foam plastic, each 2.2 metres high. A donkey will also live in the city and take the smallest guests of the festival for a ride.
Sculptors are cutting out of sand the main decoration of the site, the ancient city’s bas-relief, which measures 11 metres wide and seven metres high. Even rain will not damage the decoration, as the cubes out of which it is being made are saturated with a mixture of water and glue.
The exhibition “Father Superior Antonin and Russian Palestine” will be open here from 22 April until 7 May. It will show how Russian Palestine was formed and how Father Superior (Andrei Kapustin) preserved Christian relics. History will be told in photos, documents, paintings and lithographs.
In total, the exhibition will consist of over 100 items, many of which will be displayed for the first time. Among the most interesting showpieces are several of Father Superior’s personal photos that have survived, of him with Moscow Governor General Grand Duke Sergei and his wife, Grand Duchess Elisabeth. Another extraordinary exhibit is an icon painted by Father Antonin himself, “The Saviour in a Crown of Thorns”.
Pussy Willow Sunday (Palm Sunday in the Russian Orthodox Church) will be the main event at the site. At 1 pm on 24 April, blessed willow branches, which are a symbol of the holiday, will be handed out free here. All of the Moscow Spring sites will have 5,000 such bouquets to give out to visitors.
The festival, which will last from 22 April until 9 May, will kick off a series of street events called The Moscow Seasons. Over 200 pavilions will be open at 26 fairs where Muscovites can enjoy refreshments, excursions, exhibitions and concerts. During workshop sessions, visitors will learn how to colour Easter eggs, knit with bone needles and fight with swords. An experimental laboratory will open for science fans, where the history of great discoveries by Russian scientists will be dramatised.
Courting couples made of greenery will be installed in Tverskoi Boulevard and a whole garden will blossom near the statue of poet Sergei Yesenin. The Movie Hero site is sure to interest cinema lovers while theatre fans will enjoy the site dedicated to stage directors Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, as well as to the Moscow Art Theatre’s leading actress Olga Knipper-Chekhov.