The spirit of the UAE took over the heart of Moscow at Manezh Square, where more than 300,000 visitors experienced traditional Emirati culture. From sipping qahwa to applying henna, the event showcased the rich heritage of the UAE, leaving a lasting impression on attendees.

Key Takeaways

  • Over 300,000 visitors attended the event at Manezh Square.
  • Traditional Emirati activities included qahwa sipping, henna application, and Ayala dance performances.
  • The event featured an Emirati wedding show, fashion show, and national treats.
  • The cultural exchange is part of a larger cycle of events between Russia and the GCC.

A Cultural Extravaganza

The event, titled ‘The Days of UAE Culture,’ was organized by the UAE Embassy and the Government of Moscow. Held from June 27 to July 2, the event transformed Manezh Square into a vibrant display of Emirati culture, adorned with the colors of the UAE flag—red, white, black, and green.

One of the highlights was the Emirati wedding show, which captivated the audience by showcasing wedding traditions passed down through generations. The bride, dressed in traditional attire, was escorted by women to the groom’s house, where various rituals were performed.

Traditional Performances

The ‘Ayala’ performance, a traditional dance where participants line up in two rows facing each other and dance to the rhythm of tambourines and drums, was a major attraction. Thousands of visitors recorded the mesmerizing performance on their phones.

Niki Kozilov, a Moscow resident, expressed his amazement: "I had come to Dubai twice, but I had never seen anything like the ‘Ayala’ dance before. The way the participants moved in sync with the rhythm was mesmerizing. My next trip to the Emirates will be solely dedicated to learning and experiencing the Emirati culture."

Immersive Experiences

Visitors also enjoyed performances by Emirati bands, a fashion show featuring Emirati music, and the opportunity to taste national treats and popular UAE dishes. Anastasia, a visitor from St. Petersburg, remarked, "Whenever we browse about the UAE on the internet, all we see is modern architecture, adventure, and luxury living. However, there is much more to it."

The event provided an immersive cultural experience with activities such as temporary henna tattoos, craft displays, and a photo exhibition showcasing the stunning landscapes of the UAE. Anya Petrova, an engineer at MTC Telecommunications, shared her excitement about getting a henna design for the first time.

Strengthening Bilateral Relations

The event saw more than 40,000 attendees on the first evening alone, and by the end of the program, over 300,000 people had experienced the cultural offerings. The program is part of a larger cycle of events held on a reciprocal basis within the framework of bilateral interaction between Russia and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States (GCC).

Natalia Sergunina, Deputy Mayor of Moscow, highlighted the growing partnership between the two countries: "In 2023 alone, more than 42,000 travelers from the UAE visited Moscow—eight times more than the previous year. This trend continued in the first quarter of 2024."

In addition to cultural exchanges, the two countries are also actively fostering relations in the tourism sector. Travelers from the UAE do not need a visa to enter Russia, and in 2023, Moscow welcomed 42.2 thousand tourists from the UAE. As of early February, there were 150 flights a week from the Russian capital to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.