This will be the fifth Journey to Christmas festival to date. Dedicated to theatrical Moscow, the festival will focus on over 300 local theatres, favourite actors and actresses, plays, performances and stage directors.
Two thousand km of garlands and 83 magic islands
In all, 83 festival locations will open in the city’s Central and other administrative areas from 22 December up until 14 January. The improved Garden Ring will feature four festival locations for the first time.
Each festival location will have its own unique design. For example, a fairy tale forest on Manezhnaya Square will have 350 fir-trees and pines. Russian and foreign designers will install seven Christmas trees on Kuznetsky Most Street. Architectural-historical lighting will be installed on 1,800 buildings and structures, including bridges, overpasses and landmarks. Moreover, 2,000 kilometres of garlands will also add magic to the festive atmosphere.
Representatives from 42 Russian regions and 16 foreign countries will deliver souvenirs, tasty food and other goods to Moscow. The city will open 320 chalet shops, with 100 restaurants.
Workshops for gourmets and fairy tale performances
No one will have to feel bored. The festival’s central locations will have over 5,000 performances, over 4,000 creative workshops, 1,300 interactive programmes and 450 culinary workshops for gourmets and those who have a sweet tooth.
The 12 Months interactive play, due to be staged on Manezhnaya Square, will also involve some of the spectators. An ice-covered slide 100 metres long and seven metres high will be located between the Manezhnaya and Revolyutsii squares and Scandinavian Christmas celebrations are scheduled to be held on Novy Arbat Street. A book market will open there too, and New Year performances will also be staged. Of course, Scandinavian fairy tales will also be included in the programme.
Tverskaya Square will turn into a magical theatre with fairy tale characters from France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Austria and some Scandinavian countries. The performances will be based on fairy tales and people will learn about a white zoo and a glass theatre. Artisans from Venice, the Czech Republic and Russia will create unique glass items.
New Year celebrations on Tverskaya Street will become the hit of the season. From 31 December up until 2 January, central Moscow will turn into a pedestrian zone stretching for 2.4 kilometres between the Triumfalnaya and Lubyanskaya squares.
In all, ten thematic locations will open here, with each location featuring its own unique programme based on world-famous fairy tale performances, operas and ballets. Actors from 70 theatres will present over 150 costumed productions. People visiting Tverskaya Street will be entertained by several thousand actors and actresses together with musicians.
There are plans to hold interactive theatrical and musical performances, creative workshops, as well as sports shows and open training sessions.
The festive programme on Tverskaya Street will last from noon 31 December until 3 am 1 January. On the first Day of New Year, festival locations will be open from noon until 10 pm, as well as from 11 am until10 pm on 2 January.
Garden Ring magic and an ice theatre on Boulevard Ring
The improved Garden Ring will also have some festival locations stretching for, all in all, 15.6 kilometres. Local projects will include a traditional interactive Christmas quest. Theatre-goers will watch numerous street performances lasting 472 hours. In all, it will take 42 theatre companies 24 days to show their productions.
One of the most outstanding festival locations will open on the Boulevard Ring. An ice theatre will open in Novopushkinsky Public Garden, with professional figure skater Pyotr Chernyshov performing and directing some spectacular ice shows. The programme includes 50 theatrical performances, including “Snow White,” “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Cipollino/Little Onion” and a premiere of “Cinderella.”
Strasbourg Fair’s Moscow Seasons
The history of Moscow’s Christmas festival began with the Strasbourg Fair, held on Manezhnaya Square from 24 December 2012 until 7 January 2013. Over 700,000 people learned about Christmas traditions in Europe, with wooden chalets selling Christmas tree decorations, household items and Alsace bakery.
People in the city liked this event so much that it was decided to hold another such a festival and the first Journey to Christmas festival took place from 20 December 2013 until 8 January 2014. Twenty-three out of the 34 festival locations were opened in central Moscow, and each of them dealt with cultural traditions of Christmas and New Year celebrations in various European countries. Over six million people attended the festival.
The event gradually picked up momentum, with the second Journey to Christmas festival attracting tourists from France and Austria, the Czech Republic and Denmark, Belgium and Latvia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico as well as China. In all, 8.5 million people visited 36 festival locations.
The third festival featured 38 locations, with about ten million people visiting them.
The fourth Journey to Christmas festival took place at 42 locations in the city’s Central and other administrative districts. In all, the event involved 200 chalet shops, 60 restaurants and 19 chalets for holding workshops, plus12.2 million people, including four million visitors from other Russian regions and foreign countries, visited festival locations. Over two million people attended the festival during New Year and Orthodox Christmas celebrations.