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.
At Revolution Square, 26-year-old Aleksei was busy choosing his favorite snack from a number of vendors selling pickled cucumbers, caviar and pancakes of different flavors, cheese breads, chocolates and other delicacies.
The famed "national drink" Kvas, a fermented beverage made from black bread, was very popular among locals and visitors. "We Russians just like it." said Aleksei, showing a cup of brown-colored Kvas.
A few blocks away, along the Tver boulevard, dubbed Moscow's Fifth Avenue, a massive parade was under way.
A military orchestra from Scotland was playing traditional bagpipe folk songs. They were followed by a group of Chinese artists who presented a traditional Chinese dragon dance.
A man in the costume of comic super-hero the Flash was also seen in the procession.
At night, Red Square, with the fairy-tale-like St. Basil's Cathedral, changed into an open-air arena for another splendid show. The fifth international military music festival kicked off with the chime of clock on Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower.
Under a sky lit up by fireworks and laser beams, military bands from Greece, France, China, Germany and other countries staged a two-hour show.
September nights in Moscow could be both windy and chilly, as a lot of viewers put on thick coats and fur jackets during the show.
"Winter is coming. We will take the last chance to enjoy outdoor good times," said Aleksei.