Twelve eras in 12 days: Moscow to host historical reenactment festival

Twelve eras in 12 days: Moscow to host historical reenactment festival
People from various epochs will soon walk city streets, boulevards and parks. They will set up military camps, open high-society discussion clubs and will cook vintage dishes for visitors. A major historical reenactment festival is to open1 June in Moscow.

During the first half of June, at 30 venues, the city will host the large historical reenactment festival, Times & Epochs: The Gathering.   It will take 12 days to reenact 12 historical eras, from the Ancient World to the 20th century, on local streets and in parks. Those visiting city parks will see epic battles, equestrian competitions, fencing tournaments and can take part in workshops organised by artisans and chefs.

New scale

The city has been hosting this historical reenactment festival since 2011. This is the only such event in the city because reenactors usually meet on former battlefields. The Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve has always been the main venue. Each year the festival has focused on one specific era. In 2011, they reenacted Ancient Rus (862-1240); and, in 2012, the Tsardom of Muscovy (1547-1721). In 2013, they reenacted the Middle Ages, followed by World War I in 2014. The main themes of 2015 and 2016 were the Ancient World and the civil wars of Ancient Rus.

The upcoming festival will be larger, longer and more diverse than before, and it will encompass the entire city. Times & Epochs: The Gathering festivals have become part of the Moscow Seasons schedule of street events. Thirty locations will open around the capital, with reenactment camps at parks, public gardens, on central streets and squares. Festival participants will try and involve local residents to the greatest possible extent.

Festival organisers tried to bring together all the best international reenactment groups with 6,000 history buffs from Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Israel, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Estonia. All of them will simultaneously represent 12 historical eras.  

History comes alive

On 26 May, a themed train began running on the Moscow Metro’s Zamoskvoretskaya Line (Green Line) and will run until late June. The carriages show various eras that will help passengers feel the spirit of history.

City streets, between Tverskoi and Chistoprudny boulevards, will become the main festival venues. Tverskoi Boulevard will host the largest national contest of historical projects and include professionals and amateurs. Novopushkinsky Public Garden is to receive at least 700 reenactors from 19 countries. The contest results will be decided and the winners awarded 12 June.

Chistoprudny Boulevard will turn into 19th century Sevastopol. An artillery position dating to the Crimean War of 1853-1856 and a memorial area honouring the city’s defenders will be located on one side of the street. And the other side will feature a square dating to the 1880s, the 1890s and the early 1900s with a café, a photo studio and a musical-theatrical summer-house.

Russian and French armies from the Patriotic War of 1812 will pitch camps on Strastnoi Boulevard. Miniature soldiers will be available for staging battles at a military-history theatre on Petrovsky Boulevard. The atmosphere of the Silver Age of Russian culture will be presented on Tverskaya Square. People will be able to visit an old Moscow hotel, an exhibition of vintage music machines and will see theatrical plays and ballet. A timeline showing the main periods of the Kitai-Gorod district’s history will appear on Nikolskaya Street, and the famous 18th century Kadashovskaya Suburb, now part of the Zamoskvorechye district, will be reenacted on Lavrushinsky Pereulok.

Walking Back in Time

On 13-28 May, Moscow hosted a number of guided tours through the city’s history called Walking Back in Time prior to the festival. Walkers learned about the secret passages in St. Basil’s Cathedral, the construction of fortifications in the Kitai-Gorod district, numerous Kremlin reconstruction projects and where their favourite city streets got their names.

On 1 June, a guided tour on the Silver Age of Russian culture will open a new guided-tour schedule. During the festival, visitors will gain insight into the capital’s most interesting places and its outstanding residents and famous writers. Thematic walks will be dedicated to Sergei Yesenin, Ivan Bunin, Vladimir Gilyarovsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Boris Pasternak, and the guides will also discuss theatre and ballet and the everyday life of Muscovites in the early 20th century.

All guided tours are free. Evening weekend promenades will also include visits to museums. The tours lasting 2-2.5 hours each are intended for adults and school students. Meeting place: Opposite Saints Cosmas and Damian Church in Shubino at 2 Stoleshnikov Pereulok.