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Moscow celebrates its 865th birthday

(Xinhua)

08:49, September 03, 2012

MOSCOW, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Muscovites and visitors enjoyed a weekend of carnivals, concerts, acrobatic shows and fireworks as the city marked its 865th birthday.

The celebrations began Saturday on Red Square, the heart of Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin joined thousands of spectators there at midday to watch a grand theatrical show which involved some 2,500 musicians and performers.

Putin, in his opening speech, said Moscow has been the symbol of Russia and the heart of Russia's economy, politics and spirit.

"Great national history has been preserved in monuments, museums, ancient churches, streets and alleys in the city, which need to be carefully protected and handed down to the next generation," Putin said.

More than 600 events were planned in the downtown area for both local residents and visitors, officials said.

Security was also beefed up during the weekend. More than 16,000 police officers, troops and private guards were deployed.

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