Every year the Russian capital spares no expenses when it come to Christmas lights. This has been particularly true since 2015, with the first Moscow Christmas light festival. That first year the festival comprised 100 km of garlands and 8,000 different decorative elements, along with 20 luminous art objects by famed international artists.
The festival has steadily grown in size and importance and every year the streets in the capital’s center and a lot of the main squares start glowing, lit by hundred of thousands of LED lights. Over the years many light artists have contributed to the festival with their creation and a fixed present is that of Italian artist Valerio Festi, of international fame above all for creating, since 2002, the light installation of the Paris mall Galeries Lafayette (you can see a picture of his work at the bottom of the liked Wikipedia page).
The combined effect of all this lights is such that when the sky is overcast (and, believe me, in the Russian winter that is NOT a rare occurrence!) the clouds over Moscow start turning into different colors, creating a show not entirely unlike that of the Northern Lights.
I took the feature picture of this post a few days ago in Park Pobedy (Victory Park or Victory square), usually a stern-looking square with somber monuments dedicated to the memory of fallen soldiers and the war effort 70 years ago. In the wintertime, though, the whole eastern part of the park is transformed into a huge ice rink or, during the light festival, into a collection of illuminated ice sculptures and statues of dancers made from a wireframe covered in golden lights.
When the sly behind the statues turns into a deep red color, or, as in the above picture, into a cool bluish hue, it makes for a great backdrop to the “golden dancers”.
The western side of Park Pobedy permanently hosts the Museum of the Great Patriotic War (I guess the name is too long for Google’s liking, so in Google Maps you will find it labeled as “Victory Museum”). Underneath it all there is the Park Pobedy metro station, which holds a number of record and has a few peculiarities, so I will write a separate post about it.
Before visiting a new city, do look up what events and celebrations are going on when you visit. This will give you a chance to see things that are often not cited in travel guides, especially the printed ones, which can not be updated once they’ve been printed, or to experience a particular place in the city in a completely different light or atmosphere. A part from that it is also very useful to know what “repercussions” these events might have on traffic or public transportation, as often streets are closed for parades and it is always a good idea to double check if the festivities do or do not change opening hours of the museums you are planning to visit.
Would you like to take part in a photowalk or a photo tour of Moscow or any other Russian destination with an English (and Italian, Spanish and French) speaking photographer (me) showing you the sights, the best time and viewpoint(s) to capture them in your images and helping you improve your photo technique with practical tips? If so, do get in touch and we’ll be happy to create an unforgettable, tailor-made experience for you!