National Unity Day, National holiday

4 November 2019

National Unity Day, National holiday

National Unity Day commemorates the 17th-Century Russian uprising against Polish and Lithuanian occupation forces, when all Russians united to preserve the integrity of the Russian state.

In the early 1600’s, Poland and Lithuania united and using Russia's weakness of being without a Czar at the time, conquered most of Russia and even took Moscow. Their mission was to unify the northern Slavic people under a single state, but the Russian people demanded their independence. On November 4th, 1612, Russian people's revolt in Moscow drove out the invaders.

The two main leaders of the revolt were Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, both of whom are today considered to be Russian national heroes. The new Czar, Mikhail Romanov, declared it a holiday. During the Soviet Union, the Communist government eliminated the holiday and replaced it with the November 7th remembrance of the Bolshevik Revolution. In 2005, more than a decade after the fall of the USSR, November 4th was reinstated as a national holiday.

Don't miss:

  • See the famous monument to Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin which stands right before the St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. A replica can be seen in Nizhny Novgorod. On the day, flowers are led to honour the national heroes
  • Attend a service in honour of Our Lady of Kazan at one of the Russian Orthodox churches. Virgin Mary was considered the patron saint of the Russian city of Kazan. The original icon was stolen and is believed to be destroyed in 1904. You may wish to visit one of the two beautiful Kazan Cathedrals - in Moscow and St. Petersburg
  • A visit to the State Historical Museum in Moscow at the Red Square will uncover the full span of Russian history, including the period of the Moscow revolt. It houses literally millions of artefacts - from ancient relics to Romanov-era

Free Museum Days in Moscow

3rd Sunday of each month

Free Museum Days in Moscow

The museums that are under control of the City Department of Culture offer free admission on every 3rd Sunday of the month. Please note that the federal museums such as the Tretyakov Gallery, the Historical Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts do not participate in this initiative. Long queues can be expected as there always many visitors who would like to use the offer.