As of 12 April, Moscow will have five outdoor exhibitions devoted to its history. Over 90 two-metre high lightboxes displaying historical building facades will iIluminate the areas where the Easter Gift and Moscow Spring festivals are taking place in central Moscow. Within the lit up window frames interesting facts about 17th-20th century Moscow will be revealed.
“It is for the first time, that outdoor exhibitions will be designed in the form of Moscow historical buildings’ facades,” the organisers, the Moscow Fairs state budgetary institution, said. “The exhibitions will take a look back at the architectural development of the city.”
The project will involve over 180 mock-up models based on building facade layouts dating back to the 17th-20th centuries. The organisers chose the historical sites built in Russian Byzantine style, Classicism, Modernism and other kinds of architectural styles for their models. The mockups will partially recreate the facades of the Metropol hotel, the Moscow Art Theatre, the Moscow University building in Mokhovaya Street, the GUM department store, the State History Museum and some others as well. The 17th century ‘facades’ will be based on traditional old Russian wooden architecture. There will be drawings and sketches of historian Mikhail Pogodin’s wooden house. Although it was built in the year 1856, it follows in the footsteps of the traditions of the Moscow architecture from pre-Peter the Great times. with ornamental carved wooden shutters, gables, carved cornice and many other details.
The facade lightboxes will be arranged as labyrinths for people to wander along, peeping through the ‘windows’ and viewing photos of 19th century Moscow streets, engravings, fragments from paintings and lithographs. The labyrinths will also feature interesting facts about Moscow’s history and the typical life of a Muscovite several centuries ago. For example, one will see what a Moscow State University student’s record book looked like in the 19th century or get acquainted with the recipe for Leo Tolstoy’s favourite lemon cake.
19th century Moscow streets and festive traditions
The exhibition area will stretch from Revolution (Revolyutsii) Square and Manezh (Manezhnaya)Square opposite the 1812 Patriotic War Museum. This will be the site of the Moscow Historical Quarters exhibition with 40 facade lightboxes. The exhibition will highlight the coronation ceremony of the first Romanov Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich and reveal why Moscow has retained its status of the First Throne. The exposition will also feature celebrations and long past street festivals, how Muscovites prepared for Easter and which houses famous patrons of the arts donated to the city.
Photographs of 19th century Moscow from the Shchyusev Museum of Architecture will be on display for the first time. One of the photos depicts Caspian willow markets on Red Square where people traditionally bought Caspian willow branches in time for Palm Sunday, together with presents and special food for Easter celebrations.
19th century students’ record books and education in Moscow
The history of Moscow education and science will be covered by an exhibition titled Moscow – Centre of Intellectual Culture: 18th-19th Centuries. One will be able to view this in the public garden near the Karl Marx monument. One will learn about the city’s leading education providers during the time of the existence of the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy (1687–1814), the Moscow University and the first women’s gymnasia. Some unique photographs will illustrate the way university professors dressed in the 19th century and show students’ mid-19th century record books.
Costume sketches for Mary Stuart performance and Maly Theatre’s leading actors
An exhibition titled Theatre History of Moscow will be held in Kamergersky Pereulok, with 13 facade lightboxes highlighting the history of the Bolshoi and Maly theatres, the first Moscow private theatre enterprises, and theatrical street festivities. The stands will also feature Maly Theatre celebrities – Maria Yermolova, Mikhail Shchepkin, and the great playwrights Alexander Sukhovo-Kobylin and Alexander Ostrovsky. Unique sketches of decorations and costumes for the Maria Stuart performance, which premiered in Maly Theatre in the 19th century, will also be on display.
Moscow restaurant menus of the 19th century, Leo Tolstoy’s favourite recipe
If you choose to immerse yourself into a true feeling of warmth within the Russian capital, head for an exhibition taking place on Arbat Street. It is titled Moscow Easter Celebration Traditions: History of Easter Gifts, and there one will see a rich collection of Easter cards and gifts that people used to give one another. Moscow restaurant 19th century menus will also be on display along with their total number, their clientele and meal prices. Family dinner traditions will be also presented based on the example of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace characters. Those with a sweet tooth will be able to take a look at Tolstoy’s favourite ‘Ankovsky’ cake recipe made with short-crust pastry and lemon filling.
Trading rows, famous crafts
Those interested in Moscow’s industrial manufacturers and factories should head for The Moscow – Centre of Crafts and Trade art labyrinth on Nikolskaya Street. It will show where large trading areas used to be and which crafts Moscow was particularly famous for as well as which crafts neighbourhoods existed in Moscow, how much crafts cost, and why people travelled all the way to Moscow for the best quality goods in the 18th-19th centuries.
Outdoor expositions in Moscow will run until late April-early May.