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1 Sep, 2007 15:25

Moscow celebrates 860 years of history

More than three million people are expected to take part in weekend festivities celebrating Moscow's 860th birthday. Five thousand different events are being staged across the capital, including music shows and firework displays.

As well as being the most expensive city in the world, the most populated in Europe, Moscow is also one of the oldest cities in Russia.

About three 3 million people visit Moscow each year.  This year hundreds of guests came especially to celebrate the city's jubilee. Dozens of stages have been set up across the city.

Red Square hosted a classical music concert called “Masterpieces of Violin Art”.  Around 6,000 people turned up to see Russia's State Symphonic Tchaikovsky Grand Orchestra perform work by Italian violinist and composer, Niccolo Paganini, on the 225th anniversary of his birth.  As well as Paganini, listeners were treated to music by Bach, Rakhaminov and others, peformed by some of the world's top soloists.

Among the attractions on Saturday were the 15th International waiter's and waitress's race.  Onlookers watched as dozens of girls and guys tried to negotiate the 200m course as quickly as possible without dropping their trays.  They were also expected to remain graceful and to keep a smile on their face.   

“We've stolen the idea for this competition. Something like this was held in Paris but their waitresses run eight kilometres! Our route is only 200 metres,” said Boris Fadeev, the race organiser.  

“While running I was thinking about the bottle, I was careful not to drop it.  Really difficult.  But I did it!  I am really cool!” boasted Roman Pervy, a participant.

While the serving staff were showing off their waiting skills, the city's cooks were busy in the kitchens.  Moscow restaurants used the anniversary to showcase their best recipes.  A team of tasters from the International Chefs Association judged the dishes.   

“The chef’s cap says much about the chef’s status: the higher the cap is, the more senior the cook,” one of the experts explained.   

“If a chef's hat has 100 folds, it means he can prepare 100 dishes from eggs.  I have 100,” said one of the participants.  

Security will remain tight in the capital throughout the weekend's celebrations.  20,000 police and soldiers will be on the streets, guarding the 5,000 planned events.  They've been searching the city centre and public spaces for suspicious activity.  Around 3.5 million people are expected to take part in festivities.  

The main jubilee celebrations will take place on Sunday.