For alternative meanings, see Moscow (disambiguation).

Moscow (Russian: Москва, Moskva in English transcription), is a city of 10.1 million inhabitants (2002) and the capital of Russia. It is located on the river Moskva.

It is in the district called Central Russia (which is actually in the extreme west of Russia). It was formerly the capital of the Soviet Union, and of Muscovy, the pre-Imperial Russia. It is the site of the famous Kremlin, with its elegant onion domes, which serves as the center of the national government.

Moscow is also well known as the site of the Saint Basil's Cathedral. The Patriarch of Moscow serves as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Culture
3 Tourism
4 Transport
5 Sports
6 Demographics
7 External links


The first reference to the town of Moscow is from 1147 when it was an obscure town in a small province, with a mostly Finno-Ugric population, the Merya. In 1156, Prince Yury Dolgoruky built a wooden wall and a moat around the city. They were not terribly successful, however, as in 1177 the city was burned to the ground and its population was murdered. After 1237-1238, when the Mongols captured the city, burning the city to the ground and murdering the inhabitants, it recovered and became the capital of an independent principality.

In 1300 it was ruled by Prince Daniel, the son of Alexander Nevsky, and a member of the Rurikovich line. Its favorable position at the headwaters of the Volga river let it slowly expand. Moscow was also stable and prosperous for many years and attracted a large numbers of refugees from across Russia. By 1304 Yury of Moscow contested with Mikhail of Tver for the throne of the principality of Vladimir. Ivan I eventually defeated Tver to become the capitol of Vladimir, and the sole collector of taxes for the Mongol rulers. By paying high tribute, Ivan won an important concessions from the Khan. Unlike other principalities, Moscow would not be divided up among his sons, but would be passed intact to his eldest. The Khan of the Golden Horde had long been trying to limit Moscow's power.

But, when the growth of the Lithuanian empire began to threaten all of Russia, the Khan strengthened Moscow to counterbalance Lithuania, allowing it to become one of the most powerful cities in Russia. In 1480, Ivan III finally broke Russia free from Mongol control and Moscow became the capital of an empire which would eventually encompass all of Russia and Siberia, and parts of many other lands.

The tyranny of later Tsars, such as Ivan the Terrible, lead to a decay of the state, even as the empire was expanding. In 1571 the Crimean Tartars from the Ottoman Empire seized and burned Moscow. From 1605 through 1612 Polish troops occupied Moscow, as Poland unsuccessfully get involved in the attempt of Russian gentry to establish usurper on the throne, or to form the personal union between to biggest Slavic states. However, Polish army had only half-hearthedly support from the state, and the intervention was strongly criticized in the Polish Sejm. Thus, in 1612, a Russian gentry made an another uprising that this time was directed against the Poles, and in 1613, an assembly of the Empire elected Michael Romanov tsar, establishing the Romanov dynasty.

Moscow ceased to be Russia's capital when in 1700 Peter the Great constructed St. Petersburg on the Baltic coast. When Napoleon invaded in 1812, the Moscovites burned the city and departed; Napoleon's troops soon left, defeated by hunger and the cold. Following the success of the Russian revolution in 1917, Lenin once again made Moscow the capital, and it remains so to this day.

When a large army of Nazi troops began to invade Soviet Russia in June 1941: (see Operation Barbarossa) one of three army divisions, Army Group Center, also marched straight towards Moscow. At one point advanced forces came within 40 miles of the city center before Russian defenders drove them off. Ultimately a heavy winter accompanied by heavy snow and below-freezing temperatures stopped the army and kept it from seizing the city; subsequent counteroffensives drove Army Group Center from Moscow's western suburbs.

Historical population

YearNumber of inhabitants


Moscow has the heart of the Russian ballet and performing arts venues. Theatres and Ballet studios dot Moscow. Although less than a quarter of Russians live in the countryside, Muscovites, like other urban dwellers, are still attached to the countryside. Many parks and gardens are seen in Moscow.

As they live in a large city, Muscovites have many different types of restaurants in town, including McDonald's. While people in the United States see McDonald's as a junk food joint, Russians love the atmosphere that McDonald's has.

During the Soviet era a lot of plattenbaus were built.


Moscow is a popular tourist attraction not just for the Saint Basil's Cathedral, but also because of its theatres and ballets.



Moscow has four airports, Sheremetyevo International Airport, Domodedovo International Airport, Bykovo Airport, and Vnukovo Airport

Local transportation includes an excellent subway system, filled with art, murals, and mosaics, called the Metro. Begun in 1935, it has 11 lines and more than 150 stations. It is not uncommon to see ornate chandeliers lighting the stations.


Moscow was the host city of the 1980 Summer Olympics, although the yachting events were held at Tallinn.


External links