Moscow Festivals

Moscow Festivals

The Moscovians know how to throw a good party, with the necessary alcoholic beverages (vodka!). If you want to enjoy the Russian way to celebrate carnival (or if you just really really like pancakes), be sure you plan your City Break Moscow during Maslenitsa. For classical music lovers, the options are endless, pick your festival and make sure you book your tickets in time. Here we provide you with a short list of the most famous festivals of Moscow.Maslenitsa festival
The most well known festival in Moscow is the Maslenitsa festival, also known as the ‘butter’ or ‘pancake’ festival. This festival takes place in the second half of February and lasts a week. It is comparable with carnival as celebrated in some countries in Europe. The festival celebrates the end of the winter season and the beginning of the summer. The traditional dish of the festival is pancakes, as a symbol of the sun (or the beginning of the summer) and the day ends with burning of straw personifications of Maslenitsa, which symbolises the end of the winter. It is celebrated throughout the city.

Moscow International Film Festival
The Moscow International Film Festival (the MIFF) is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and attracts top actors from the worldwide film industry each year. The first MIFF was held in 1935. From 1959 to 1995 the MIFF was held every other year, as from 1995 it takes place every year. The festival's prize is the statue of Saint George. The festival takes place in June and will be held for the 33rd time in 2011. For more information and the schedule see the website of the MIFF:

Moscow Biennale of Comtemporary Art
The First Moscow Biennale took place in 2005 and was established to introduce international contemporary art to Russia. The event generated great response both in Russia and abroad, and is on its way to become a respectable annual event. The exhibitions can be seen in galleries throughout the city or outdoors. The Fourth Biennale will take place in September-October 2011, for more information check the website

Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory
The Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory organises several so-called ‘festivals’ a year, such as the ‘Mozart Days’, the ‘Felix Mendelson’s Days’ or the celebration of the 100th birthday of famous Russian and international composers. The P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory is the bustling centre of the music life in the capital and the performers are Russian talents who were or still are students at this institute. For the actual program, see

Moscow Easter Festival
This festival takes place between Easter and Victory Day and is focused on classical music. The first edition was in 2002 and has been an annual success ever since. One of the highlights is the bell concert, which uses the church bells in the numerous churches in Moscow. You do not need a ticket for this one, just stay close to some churches (although it is probably difficult to not be close to a couple of churches in Moscow). For more information and the schedule see

Gay Pride
Since 2006 an annual Gay Pride takes place around the end of May. However, this event is not supported by the government and encounters quite some opposition from the officials. It is not a festive event as it is in some European cities, but mainly comprises of a march. In the past, sometimes the march was obstructed by the officials, however, the last time the march was finished in relative peace. So if you want to make a statement for the gay community in Moscow, you could go there. However do check the up-to-date political sentiment before you take off.

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