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Friday, 29 December, 2000, 16:56 GMT
Bolshoi closing in 2002 for repairs

Moscow's world famous Bolshoi Theatre is to close in 2002 for two years of much needed renovation work.

The Russian Culture Minister, Mikhail Shvydkoy, said the 19th century building, home of the Bolshoi ballet, was in serious need of repair.

He said the oak pillars holding it up were rotting, and the last major work on the electrical system was done in 1935.

The United Nations culture organisation, UNESCO, has been co-ordinating an international appeal to fund the two-hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar re-building programme needed for the theatre which experts said thirteen years ago should be shut because of rising damp rotting its foundations.

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