(Photos in GIF: Ralph Larmann)

Every year, the most iconic buildings and cultural monuments in Moscow are illuminated with vibrant light installations as part of the Circle of Light Moscow International Festival. This year's event, which took place from Sept. 26 to Oct. 4, served as a brilliant showcase of the technical possibilities of large-scale projection mapping.

In the animated GIF above, we see the Central Children's Store on Lubyanka Street light up with fantastical critters, delicious sweet treats, and a visual history of Russian toys.

Although there were nine different projections and light shows set up around the city, the installation that really stole the show was the one projected against the 20,000-square-meter facade of Russia's Ministry of Defence building. Situated on the banks on the Moscow River, the massive building hosted a nightly 50-minute mapping projection that featured six different stories (a small sample of which can be seen below).

Circle of Light installation
(Photo: Ralph Larmann)

The Ministry of Defence installation was so large that an official adjudicator for the Guinness Book of World Records was on hand to confirm the achievement as the world's largest mapping projection to date.

Continue below to see what these lighting designers and engineers did to other buildings and structures around the city, like the Bolshoi Theatre:

Moscow's famous Bolshoi Theatre is illuminated during the Circle of Light festival.
Moscow's famous Bolshoi Theatre is illuminated during the Circle of Light festival. (Photo: Smitry Serebryakov/AFP/Getty Images)
The VDNKh building in Moscow, Russia lit up by projections
The VDNKh building in Moscow lit up by colorful projections. (Photo: Ralph Larmann)
The Andreyevsky pedestrian bridge is all lit up over the Moscow River.
The Andreyevsky pedestrian bridge is all lit up over the Moscow River. (Photo: Ralph Larmann)
The Central Children's Store is covered in candy and sweets.
The Central Children's Store is covered in candy and sweets. (Photo: Ralph Larmann)
Fireworks explode over Moscow's riverfront during the "Circle of Light" festival.
Fireworks explode over Moscow's riverfront during the Circle of Light festival. (Photo: Ralph Larmann)

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.