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Coat of arms
Moscow is here
Coordinates: 55°45′8″N 37°37′56″E / 55.75222°N 37.63222°E / 55.75222; 37.63222Coordinates: 55°45′8″N 37°37′56″E / 55.75222°N 37.63222°E / 55.75222; 37.63222
Founded 1147
 • Head Sergey Sobyanin (mayor)
 • Total 1,081 km2 (417.4 sq mi)
Elevation( 156 m (512 ft)
Population (1 June 2009)[1]
 • Total 10,126,424
 • Density 9,367.6/km2 (24,262/sq mi)
Time zone Moscow Time (UTC+3)
 • Summer (DST) Moscow Summer Time (UTC+4)

Moscow (Russian language: Москва, Moskva) is the capital city of Russia. 11.5 million people live there (since 1 October 2010), so it is Europe's biggest city.[2] It is also the seventh biggest city in the world. Moscow is an important political, cultural, economic, religious, financial and transportation center. That makes it a global city, a city important in the economic infrastructure of the region. Moscow was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki in 1147.

In the middle of the city there is an ancient walled city called the Kremlin. There are important government buildings, museums and churches in the Kremlin. Many of the buildings in Moscow, like St. Basil's Cathedral and Spasskaya Tower, are very beautiful and famous. There are also modern buildings there. There are many art galleries, and the collection of art there is so big that it could take three years to go around.

Moscow has many scientific and educational buildings, as well as some sports complexes,built for when it was the host of the 1980 Summer Olympics. Moscow also has a complex transport system. It is made out of 4 international airports, 9 railroad stations and the second busiest (after Tokyo) metro system in the world, which is famous for its artwork.

Over time, the city has earned a variety of nicknames, most referring to its pre-eminent status in the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), Whitestone (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков.)[3]

A person from Moscow is called a Muscovite in English, or a Moskvich[4] in Russian.


It is by the Moskva River in the Moskva Oblast, in the European part of Russia. Moscow sits on the center of three parts of Earth's crust.[5] It was once the capital of the Soviet Union (1918-1991), Russian Empire, Tsardom of Russia and the Grand Duchy of Moscow (1480-1703). It is the place of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the World Heritage Sites in the city, which is the home of the President of Russia. The Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council of Russia (Federation Council) and the Government of Russia also are in Moscow.


Moscow has a large economic infrastructure. It is home to the most billionares in the world. ;[6] in 2008 Moscow was named the world's most expensive city for non-Russian workers for the third year in a row.[7] In 2009, however, Moscow went down to third after Tokyo and Osaka came in first and second.[8]


The city is named after the river (old Russian: гра́д Моско́в, which means "the city next to the Moskva River"). The beginning of the name is not known, but some people have a few ideas. One is that the name might be from a very old Finnic language, in which it means "dark" and "cloudy". The first Russian reference to Moscow is from 1147 when Yuri Dolgoruki called upon the prince of Novgorod-Severski (North Novgorod) to "come to me, brother, to Moscow."[9]

Nine years later, in 1156, Prince Yuri Dolgoruki ordered the building of a wooden wall, which had to be redone many times, to go around the growing city.[10] After the attack of 1237–1238, when the Mongols burned the city to the ground and killed its people living there, Moscow grew back and became the capital of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality (an amount of land ruled by a prince) in 1327.[11] Its good place on the start of the Volga River helped the city to grow slowly bigger and bigger. Moscow turned into a peaceful and rich principality, known as the Grand Duchy of Moscow, for many years and a large number of people from across Russia moved to live there.

Under Ivan I the city replaced Tver as a political center of Vladimir-Suzdal and became the only collector of taxes for the Mongol-Tatar rulers. By paying high taxes, Ivan worked out an important deal with the Khan. Unlike other principalities, Moscow was not divided among his sons but was passed whole to his oldest. However, Moscow's did not like the Mongol rule. In 1380, prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow led a Russian army to an important victory over the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo. Only two years later Moscow was raided by the Khan Tokhtamysh. In 1480, Ivan III finally broke the Russians free from Tatar control, allowing Moscow to become the center of power in Russia.[12] Under Ivan III the city became the capital of an empire that would eventually include all of Russia and other countries.

In 1571, the Crimean Tatars raided Moscow, burning everything but the Kremlin.[13]

In 1609 the Swedish army, led by Count Jacob De la Gardie and Evert Horn, marched from Veliky Novgorod toward Moscow to help Tsar Vasili Shuiski. They entered Moscow in 1610 and stopped the revolution against the Tsar, but left early in 1611. After that the Polish invaded. During the Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618) hetman (army commander) Stanisław Żółkiewski entered Moscow after he defeated the Russians in the Battle of Klushino. The 17th century had lots of revolutions, such as the Salt Riot (1648), the Copper Riot (1662), and the Moscow Uprising of 1682.

The plague of 1654–1656 killed half the population of Moscow.[14] The city stopped being Russia’s capital in 1712, after the building of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great near the Baltic coast in 1703. The Plague of 1771 was the last big plague in central Russia, killing 100,000 people in Moscow alone. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, the Muscovites burned the city and ran away, as Napoleon’s army was coming near to the city on 14 September. Napoleon’s army, which was very hungry and cold had to leave and was nearly destroyed by the freezing Russian winter and some attacks by the army.

File:Moscow clad in snow - Moscou sur la neige - Москва в снежном убранстве - Москва в снегу (1908), noaudio.ogv

French invasion of Russia in 1812, Fire of Moscow, painting of Smirnov A.F., 1813

In January 1905, Alexander Adrianov became Moscow’s first mayor. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, on 12 March 1918[15] Moscow became the capital of the Soviet Union.[16] During World War II (known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War), after the German invasion of the USSR, the Soviet State Defense Group and the commanders of the Red Army were placed in Moscow.

Red Square, painting of Fedor Alekseev, 1802

In 1941, 16 groups of the national volunteers (more than 160,000 people), twenty-five battalions (18,500 people) and four engineering regiments were created among the Muscovites. That November, the German Army was stopped at the edge of the city and then driven off in the Battle of Moscow. Many factories were moved away, and much of the government was too, and from 20 October the city was declared to be under siege. Its people who stayed built and used antitank defences, while the city was bombed from the air. Joseph Stalin (the leader of Russia) did not to leave the city, meaning the general staff remained in the city as well. Even though there was a siege going on, the building of the Moscow Metro system continued through the war, and by the end of the war a few new metro lines were opened.

Map of Moscow, 1784

On 1 May 1944, a medal For the defence of Moscow and in 1947 another medal In memory of the 800th year of Moscow were given to Moscow. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, on 8 May 1965, Moscow became one of twelve Soviet cities awarded the title of Hero City.

In 1980, Moscow hosted the Summer Olympic Games, which the United States and several other Western countries did not go to because of the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan in the end 1979. In 1991, Moscow was the scene of the failed overthrow attempt by the government members opposed to the rules of Mikhail Gorbachev. When the USSR ended in the same year, Moscow continued to be the capital of Russia.

Since then, the beginning of a market economy in Moscow has made an explosion of Western-style stores, services, architecture, and lifestyles. In 1998, it hosted the first World Youth Games.

Sister cities

Moscow has many sister cities:


  1. "Moscow metropolitan area population". Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  2. Thomas Brinkoff, Principal Agglomerations of the World, accessed on 2010-02-15. Data for 2009-01-01.
  3. In old Russian the word "Сорок" (Forty) also meant a church district, which made up out of about forty churches.
  4. "Muscovite" (in Russian). Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  5. "Underground Roads, Boulevards and Malls To Be Built Underneath Moscow". 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  6. "Moscow becomes world's billionaire capital — Forbes". RIA Novsoti. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
  7. Mercer's 2008 Cost of Living survey highlights
  9. Comins-Richmond, Walter. "The History of Moscow". Occidental College. Retrieved 2006-07-03.
  10. "Russia Engages the World: The Building of the Kremlin, 1156–1516". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 2006-07-03.
  11. "Along the Moscow Golden Ring" (PDF). Moscow,Russia Tourist Information centre. Retrieved 2006-07-05.
  12. Vogel, Michael. "The Mongol Connection: Mongol Influences on the Development of Moscow". Indiana University South Bend. Retrieved 2006-07-03.
  13. Moscow — Historical background
  14. Genesis of the Anti-Plague System: The Tsarist Period
  15. LENINE’S MIGRATION A QUEER SCENE, The New York Times, March 16, 1918
  16. "Geographi". The Russian Embassy. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  17. Almaty official site
  18. "Twin Towns". Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  19. "Sister Cities of Manila". © 2008–2009 City Government of Manila. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  20. "Prague Partner Cities" (in Czech). © 2009 Magistrát hl. m. Prahy. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  21. Moscow and Reykjavik sister cities. . Retrieved on 2010-02-15
  22. "Twinning Cities: International Relations" (PDF). Municipality of Tirana. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  23. Twinning Cities: International Relations. Municipality of Tirana. Retrieved on 2010-02-15.
  24. "Cooperation Internationale" (in French). © 2003–2009 City of Tunis Portal. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  25. "Miasta partnerskie Warszawy". Biuro Promocji Miasta. 2005-05-04. Retrieved 2010-02-15.