50 years ago: largest bookstore in the USSR
On 25 September 1967, renowned cultural, art and science personalities, writers and prominent party members gathered on Novy Arbat Street to unveil the largest bookstore in the USSR, the Moscow House of Books. The shop was to sell a wide range of fiction, economic, teaching and technical literature, and indeed it did.
The Moscow House of Books soon became a favourite place for readers and specialists looking for specialised books. It had such sections as natural sciences, political, teaching, fiction and others – 13 in total. The shop had an area of 4,500 sq m, with 3,600 sq m occupied by book selling halls.
The best shop assistants worked here, with jobs totalling 115. Today many of them are still working at the Moscow House of Books.
Thirty-one years later, in 1998, the shop was merged into the Moscow House of Books chain, with the Novy Arbat shop becoming the central bookstore.
Our time: over 210,000 books and meetings with celebrities
Now the shop sells more than 210,000 books, including historical, fiction, medical, cooking books and others.
The Moscow House of Books organises fund-raising events, book festivals, quizzes and meetings with famous authors who present their latest works here. New books are presented in the literary café, which also hosts musical soirees. In the past year, readers were able to meet Tatyana Tolstaya, Ilya Reznik, Renat Ibragimov, Alexander Zatsepin, Dmitry Dibrov, Blake Crouch and others.
Celebrations devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Moscow House of Books in Novy Arbat will continue for three days, between 25 and 27 September. Visitors will enjoy a prize lottery for the Wheel of Fortune quest, a Happy Birthday flash mob, a Cosplay contest, a performance of the Stas Namin Moscow Music and Drama Theatre, and also games with mascot costumes, quizzes, jazz songs performed by Lana Bazhenova, a presentation of Ivan Okhlobystin’s book Magnificus II and an instrumental show. Actors from leading theatres in Moscow will read their favourite children’s rhymes. Visitors will be able to sign greetings cards and stick them up on an illuminated tree.