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Water Begins to Course Through Moscow's Fountains as Season Opens

The fountian in front of the Bolshoi Theater where the ceremony opening fountain season was held. Sergei Porter

Friday marked the beginning of Moscow's fountain season, as city officials flipped the switch to begin pumping water through the capital's 570 water fountains.

The official opening was held at the fountain near the Bolshoi Theater on Friday in a ceremony moved up a few days from its previously planned April 30 date.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin presided over the event, telling onlookers, "We can count that from today spring has really started in Moscow," Vesti reported.

The tradition of officially opening the "water season" is relatively new, having started only 16 years ago.

The city's 5,000 square meters of fountains were sand-blasted and scrubbed clean with environmentally friendly chemicals in preparation for the opening of the season.

The biggest fountain in the city is a 12-piece display on Manezh Square, but the largest fountains by volume of water are at Park Pobedy, where many take the opportunity to escape summer heat by turning the fountains into swimming pools.

Most of the fountains run daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. until Oct. 1, when the weather turns frosty.

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