Doubts on Moscow's age as city tones down birthday party
Ancient coins excavated in Moscow have raised doubts about the true age of the Russian capital, which celebrates its 863rd birthday at the weekend, a leading Russian archaeologist said Thursday.
"Moscow is turning 863 shortly. This is the date of historic record, but there are items much older than this date," Moscow's chief archaeologist Alexander Veksler told journalists, the Interfax news agency reported.
In particular, coins excavated in Moscow date back over 1,000 years, he said. "Counting from the dates of these early finds would mean that we are very late in celebrating Moscow's millennium."
Moscow's official founding date is 1147, when Prince Yury Dolgoruky is recorded as inviting his friends and allies to the town.
Muscovites celebrate the city's birthday in early September every year with lavish street parties and fireworks.
This year Mayor Yury Luzhkov announced he would tone down the celebrations, however, after a record heatwave sparked wildfires that cloaked Moscow in acrid smoke last month.
The authorities will refrain from the usual practice of seeding clouds from planes to ensure a sunny day, Luzhkov said in comments reported by Interfax. "We need more rain," he added.
© 2010 AFP