About the Festival
The Circle of Light Moscow is more than just a festival; it’s a grandiose celebration of innovation, creativity, and the transformative power of lighting. Renowned for featuring an array of stunning works and masterpieces, the festival showcases the talents of both Russian and international artists, elevating the art of light to spectacular new heights.
This extraordinary festival has not only captivated the hearts of millions but has also been lauded with numerous prestigious awards and recognitions. Notably, it entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Projected Video in 2015 and 2016, and for the Greatest Light Output in 2016, cementing its status as a leader in the realm of light festivals.
The festival dazzles with several key lighting displays:
- 2D and 3D Projection Mapping: Utilizing the latest in projection technology, buildings and structures throughout Moscow are transformed into living canvases, showcasing breathtaking visual stories and 3D illusions that blur the lines between reality and art.
- Light Art Installations: These installations are meticulously crafted, ranging from intimate, interactive setups to grand, awe-inspiring structures. Utilizing an array of light forms, these installations create enchanting environments and moments of introspection and wonder.
- Audiovisual Light Displays: Seamlessly integrating light and sound, these displays offer an engulfing sensory experience. By synchronizing visually stunning light patterns with captivating audio elements, they create an immersive atmosphere that resonates deeply with audiences.
In essence, the Circle of Light Moscow is not just a festival but a vibrant testament to the power of light as a medium for art and expression. It’s a place where innovation meets tradition, and fantasy becomes reality under the Moscow sky. This festival stands as a beacon of inspiration, inviting all to witness how light, in its myriad forms, can tell stories, evoke emotions, and create unforgettable experiences.
Circle of Light Moscow is an annual spectacle, typically lighting up the city’s skyline every September. This timing perfectly captures the essence of early Russian autumn, setting a magical backdrop for the festival’s dazzling displays. Each year, these dates mark a period when nights begin to stretch longer, offering a splendid canvas for the festival’s myriad of lights and colors. Keep an eye on the official festival calendar for specific dates, as this enchanting event draws near, transforming Moscow into a wonderland of light and creativity.
Where It’s Located and How to Get There
The Circle of Light Moscow isn’t confined to a single venue but rather, it transforms various locations within the sprawling cityscape of Moscow, Russia, into a vibrant tapestry of light and color. Each site, selected for its architectural significance or cultural value, offers a unique backdrop for the light displays, ensuring that visitors get a fresh experience at every turn.
The festival’s spread across the city not only showcases Moscow’s diverse urban landscape but also allows for different interpretations and expressions of light art, offering a dynamic and multifaceted experience of the festival of lights.
Traveling to the Festival:
The nearest major airport to the core festival locations is the Sheremetyevo International Airport, about 30 km (approximately 19 miles) away.
Visitors have several options to reach the festival locations from the airport:
- Taxi or Ride-Hailing Services: The most direct way to reach the festival, though prices can vary based on time and traffic.
- Aeroexpress and Metro: A combination of the Aeroexpress train to Belorussky Railway Terminal and Moscow’s metro system offers a cost-effective and efficient way to reach different festival sites.
- Buses: Regular bus services connect the airport to various points in Moscow, including near festival locations.
Getting to Moscow by Train:
For those journeying to Moscow from other cities, the train is a fantastic option, combining comfort with the chance to see more of Russia’s landscape. Here’s how to get to Moscow by train:
- From Saint Petersburg: The high-speed “Sapsan” trains offer a convenient and fast way to travel, taking about 4 hours to reach Moscow.
- From Kazan: Overnight sleeper trains are available, offering a comfortable journey of about 12 hours.
- From Sochi: For a longer scenic route, direct trains take approximately 24 hours, showcasing diverse Russian landscapes.
- From Nizhny Novgorod: Regular trains are available, with travel times around 4-6 hours.
- From Vladivostok: For a real adventure, the famous Trans-Siberian Railway takes you on a week-long journey across the entirety of Russia to Moscow.
If you liked Circle of Light Moscow, you might want to check out these other spectacular lights festivals:
The Circle of Light Moscow commences its nightly display of brilliance from around 7:30 PM. This starting time takes full advantage of the early autumn evenings, ensuring that the backdrop of night perfectly complements the vivid light shows and installations.
The festival continues well into the night, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the enchanting world of lights, colors, and artistic expressions. Whether you’re strolling from one installation to another or waiting for the grand projections, the hours post-sunset are when Moscow truly comes alive with the magic of the festival.
Cost to Visit the Festival
One of the most appealing aspects of the Circle of Light Moscow is that it is a free event. This open invitation to everyone, regardless of budget, underscores the festival’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity in celebrating art and culture.
Visitors can explore and enjoy the various lighting displays, projections, and installations scattered across the city without worrying about ticket prices, making it an ideal event for families, students, tourists, and locals alike. The festival’s commitment to free access allows a diverse audience to experience the transformative power of light and art, reflecting the inclusive spirit of Moscow itself.
Weather and What to Wear
September in Moscow, Russia, heralds the transition from the warm, lush days of summer to the crisp, golden aura of autumn. During this month, the weather is generally mild and comfortable, but with noticeable shifts as the month progresses.
Early September often sees daytime temperatures hovering around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F), while evenings can be cooler, dropping to around 10°C (50°F). As the month advances, temperatures gradually decrease, signaling the onset of autumn. Light showers are not uncommon, adding a fresh, invigorating touch to the air — perfect for an evening spent wandering through mesmerizing light installations.
Considering this weather, here’s what we recommend wearing to comfortably enjoy the festival:
- Layered Clothing: Opt for a comfortable base layer, a warm sweater or fleece, and a light jacket that you can add or remove as needed.
- Waterproof Outer Layer: A waterproof jacket or poncho will keep you dry during those occasional September showers.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: Expect some walking between various festival sites, so choose footwear that provides support and comfort.
- Warm Accessories: Think about bringing a scarf, a hat, and gloves, especially for later in the month when evenings can get quite nippy.
- Umbrella: Handy for those unexpected drizzles, an umbrella can ensure that your light festival
experience remains uninterrupted by the weather.
Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby
After a night filled with twinkling fairy lights and mesmerizing projections, finding a cozy place to rest is essential. Here are some excellent hotels nearby that not only offer comfort and convenience but also enhance your festival experience with their unique amenities and locations.
Just a stone’s throw from VDNKh, one of the festival’s key locations, Hotel Kosmos is not just about comfort; it offers stunning views of the festival lights, adding an extra layer of magic to your stay. Located at Prospekt Mira 150, Moscow, this hotel provides guests with easy access to some of the most dazzling displays of the festival. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a variety of dining options, all enveloped in an atmosphere rich in space-age architecture and history.
AZIMUT Hotel Olympic Moscow
Nestled at Olympiysky Prospect, 18/1, this hotel is where luxury meets convenience, creating an excellent base for your light festival explorations. A short distance from key festival venues, AZIMUT Hotel Olympic Moscow allows for easy access to the night’s festivities. The hotel boasts amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a wellness center with a gym and pool, and multiple dining options, ensuring that your festival experience is comfortable, convenient, and replete with indulgence.
Holiday Inn Moscow Sokolniki
Located near Sokolniki Park at Rusakovskaya Ulitsa 24, this hotel offers a serene escape from the bustling festival. Just minutes away from the vibrant lights and sounds, it provides a tranquil environment to relax and rejuvenate. Guests can enjoy amenities like free Wi-Fi, an on-site restaurant serving a range of delicious options, and the added beauty of being close to one of Moscow’s most beautiful parks — perfect for a leisurely stroll after experiencing the high-energy atmosphere of the light festival.
What to Eat
Embarking on a culinary journey is an integral part of any festival experience, and Moscow offers a delightful array of dining options that promise to tantalize your taste buds while reflecting the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Located at Tverskoy Blvd, 26A, Moscow, Café Pushkin is a timeless foray into classic Russian cuisine set within an aristocratic 19th-century mansion. The restaurant’s authentic and luxurious ambience, combined with dishes that have stood the test of time, provides a dining experience akin to a journey through Russia’s grand culinary history. Menu highlights include traditional borscht, Beef Stroganoff, and an array of Russian pastries, each dish telling its own story of the nation’s rich, aristocratic traditions.
Situated just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin at Mokhovaya St, 15/1, Dr. Zhivago is a grand café that revisits the Soviet era with a contemporary touch. The restaurant offers a post-festival dining experience where guests can indulge in Soviet-era favorites with a modern twist. From classic Pelmeni (Russian dumplings) to Olivier salad and a luxurious reinterpretation of Kotlety Po-Kyevski (Kiev cutlet), every dish here is a nod to the nation’s storied past, served up in a space that’s both grandiose and steeped in history.
Perched on the 16th floor of Smolenskiy Passage at Smolenskaya Square, 3, White Rabbit isn’t just a restaurant; it’s an enchanting culinary destination. The restaurant offers a fusion of traditional and contemporary Russian flavors, complemented by a breathtaking panoramic view of Moscow’s twinkling cityscape. Renowned for its innovative approach to Russian cuisine, the menu features inventive dishes like Rabbit in Apple Trees and Borsch Moskovsky, providing a taste experience that is as unforgettable as the views from its glass dome.
More Things to Do in the Area
While the Circle of Light Moscow festival is a spectacle in itself, the city surrounding it brims with cultural treasures and iconic landmarks, inviting you to extend your adventures beyond the realms of light and color.
For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Tretyakov Gallery is a must. Located at Lavrushinsky Ln, 10, Moscow, this gallery is the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. Here, you can immerse yourself in Russia’s rich art history, ranging from ancient icons to masterpieces of the 20th century. The gallery’s extensive collection includes works by renowned artists such as Ilya Repin, Ivan Aivazovsky, and Kazimir Malevich, offering a comprehensive look at the evolution of Russian artistic styles and techniques.
At Theatre Square, 1, Moscow, stands the majestic Bolshoi Theatre, an emblem of Russia’s rich theatrical tradition. Catching a ballet or opera performance here is not just a cultural experience but also a journey into a world of artistic excellence. Known globally for its grandeur and outstanding performances, the Bolshoi is a testament to the skill and elegance of Russian ballet and opera. Watching a classic performance like “Swan Lake” or “The Nutcracker” in its opulent, historic auditorium is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that leaves you in awe of the arts.
Red Square and Kremlin
No visit to Moscow would be complete without exploring the iconic Red Square and Kremlin. As the heart and soul of the city, and indeed Russia itself, this area is rich in history and grandeur. The Kremlin, with its palaces and cathedrals, offers a glimpse into the country’s tumultuous and intriguing past, while Red Square is home to the colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State Historical Museum, and Lenin’s Mausoleum. Wandering through these historic landmarks, you’re not just sightseeing; you’re walking through the pages of history, surrounded by architecture that has witnessed centuries of Russian stories.
A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Circle of Light Moscow
As the Circle of Light Moscow draws to a close, the memories of its twinkling lights, innovative light shows, and the fairy-tale atmosphere linger in our hearts. This festival, set against the backdrop of Moscow’s historic grandeur, offers more than just a visual feast; it’s a celebration of creativity, culture, and the universal language of light. Until the next festival illuminates the city, these sparkling moments will continue to brighten our memories, reminding us of the magical interplay between light, art, and the enduring spirit of Moscow.
- Is there parking available at the festival venues?
Yes, there is limited parking available near the festival venues. However, due to the high turnout, we recommend using public transport or taxis for convenience.
- Can I bring my pet to the festival?
While we love our furry friends, pets are not typically allowed at the festival venues, primarily for their safety and the safety of other festival-goers.
- Is smoking permitted at the festival?
Smoking is prohibited within the immediate vicinity of the light displays and crowded areas, in line with Moscow’s regulations on smoking in public places.
- Are there food and drinks available for purchase at the festival?
Yes, a variety of food and beverage vendors are available, offering a range of options from quick snacks to full meals and drinks.
- Is the festival accessible for people with disabilities?
Absolutely, the festival is committed to being accessible to everyone. Special viewing areas and facilities are provided to accommodate guests with disabilities.
- Can I take photos or videos during the festival?
Yes, photography and video recording for personal use are encouraged! However, the use of drones or professional-grade equipment may require prior permission from the festival organizers.
- What should I do if I get lost or separated from my group?
If you find yourself lost or separated from your group, please approach the nearest festival staff member or head to an information booth for assistance.
- Are there any age restrictions for attending the festival?
The Circle of Light Moscow is a family-friendly event with no age restrictions. However, children should be accompanied by an adult at all times during the festival.