The annual winter festival Journey to Christmas will run from 13 December till 12 January. This year, Moscow will have about 40 festival venues in different Moscow districts. The main festivities will traditionally take place on Manezhnaya and Red squares, Novy Arbat Street and others. The venues will be open daily, 11:00 am till 09:00 pm on weekdays, 10:00 am till 10:00 pm on weekends and holidays.
'Journey to Christmas is the most popular Moscow Seasons festival. Last year, the venues had the record-breaking 18.6 million visitors, which is more than half a million visitors daily! The festival will offer beautiful Christmas trees and magic light installations, magnificent ice ballets, theatrical performances and pop stars' concerts, a Christmas quest with gifts, as well as exciting master classes, curling, snowboarding and other winter sports training sessions. Visitors can taste the most delicious foods and buy unusual souvenirs from all over Russia,' said Moscow Government Minister, first Deputy Head of Mayor and Moscow Government's Executive Office, Head of the Department of Trade and Services Alexei Nemeryuk.
Visit cooking and art workshops
This winter, you can 'visit' European cities and world's most famous Christmas markets at the central Journey to Christmas venues. Actors dressed as urban residents of old Europe will daily welcome adults and children on Manezhnaya Square. For example, a Prague merchant with a Christmas carp in his hands, a favourite holiday treat of the Czechs, the Baltic burgomaster with a huge key to open a Christmas market and other European urban and Christmas characters.
Besides, you can watch Czech glassblowers at work and make traditional French Christmas wreaths guided by artists from Alsace. On the same site in the Holiday Post pavilion, fairy elves will help to send cards to your friends and family or letters to Father Frost.
Young festival guests are welcome to the Christmas Library Pavilion to learn about characters of Russian and European winter fairy tales.
District festival venues will offer a special entertainment program. Mitinskaya Street will daily host cooking master classes to make European festive foods, including clafoutis (French berry pie), Danish rice pudding, German Christstollen cake and other treats. Make unusual Christmas Tree decorations based on Grimms' fairy tales, Tyrolean-style light bulbs and much more at crafts master classes.
In Orekhovy Boulevard, chefs will show how to cook Viennese schnitzel, Latvian buberts dessert, sbiten and uzvar drinks. Visits art classes to learn to paint Christmas balls in Van Gogh and Jan Vermeer style.
In Khachaturyana Street, artists will teach you to create home Christmas decorations, such as clay gingerbread houses, beautiful candles and Christmas wreaths.
Watch an ice ballet
This year, Journey to Christmas will open two ice theatres. Novopushkinsky Park rink will present a show staged by five-time U.S. champion and two-time winner of the four continents championship in ice dancing Pyotr Chernyshev. The ice theatre on Revolyutsii Square will present a performance of two-time Olympic champion, multiple world and European figure skating champion Yevgeny Plushchenko. At all other times, the ice theatres will serve as regular ice rinks.
Besides, there will be Christmas skating rinks arranged in Moscow. They will open on Tverskaya Square, Slavy Square, in the park near Golyanovsky Pond, in Gorodetskaya, Svyatoozyorskaya, Mitinskaya, Matveyevskaya and Pererva streets, as well as in Zelenograd on Yunosti Square and in the 16th Neighbourhood.
The GUM rink on Red Square will be decorated in the style of the legendary children's TV show 'Good Night, Kids!', which celebrated its 55th birthday this year. Guests will be able to take pictures with their favourite TV characters and take part in master classes of the world hockey champion Alexei Yashin.
Master curling and snowboarding
During the festival, citizens can master curling and snowboarding, too. Find the curling ground with two 35m long and 4m wide ice tracks in Shkolnaya Street. All the necessary gear is available on-site. Experienced trainers will teach how to move right.
Snowboarding fans are welcome in Novy Arbat Street. A 5.5m high and 30m wide snow slide will be installed near Building No. 21. Children 7+ can both ride for free and take visit master classes by professional athletes. Open lessons of All Pro Park snowboarding school are expected to take place on all Journey to Christmas days. A snowboard, boots and a skid lid will be provided on the spot. The same site will house a Children's Snowboard Park for kids aged 3 to 6. Experienced trainers will show basic snowboarding techniques on a flat track and teach children to slide down small hills.
Journey to Christmas is a traditional festival that brings together millions of Muscovites and Moscow guests. This is the largest winter festival in Europe and the most popular Moscow Seasons event.