Moscow is the capital and largest city of Russia. It is the fourth largest city in the world, and is the first in size among all European cities.
Moscow was founded in 1147 by Yuri Dolgoruki, a prince of the region. The town lay on important land and water trade routes, and it grew and prospered. During the 1200’s, Tartar invaders from Asia conquered Moscow and other Russian lands.
Moscow grew rapidly during the 1600’s. The czars built palaces in the Kremlin, and nobles built mansions. New churches and monasteries arose, and industries developed. In 1703, Peter the Great began building a new capital at St. Petersburg. But Moscow remained an important center of culture, industry, and trade. In the fall of 1812, invading French Troops under Napoleon I entered Moscow without a struggle. Most of the people had left the city. Soon afterwards, a fire destroyed most of Moscow . After 35 days, the French troops left the city and began a retreat through the snow and cold.
In the 1917 revolution, the government fell to the Bolsheviks. They moved back to Moscow in 1918 capital.
Moscow lies in the north-central part of the European section of Russia. The Moscow River flows through the city. Moscow is built in the shape of a wheel. At the center of the wheel stands the Kremlin. This old fortress is the center of the Russian government. Inside its walls are beautiful cathedrals and palaces, as well as government buildings. Some of them date from the 1400’s.
Red Square lies just outside the Kremlin wall. It took its name in Russian from an old word meaning both beautiful and red. There, huge military parades celebrate special occasions. Thousands of people line up daily at the Lenin Mausoleum to view the preserved body of Lenin.
Opposite the Kremlin on Red Square is GUM, the largest department store. Saint Basil’s Church is also on Red Square. This 400-year-old building is part of the State Historical Museum. The Russia Hotel, one of the world’s largest hotels, faces the Kremlin near Red Square.
Muscovites are proud of their subway system, called the Metro. The city has more than 70 subway stations, which look like palace halls and are the fanciest in the world.
Muscovites have many facilities for recreation. Luzhniki, a huge sports area, includes Lenin Stadium, which can seat about 103,000 persons. Every year, about 7 million people go to Gorki Park, Moscow’s most popular amusement center.
The Bolshoi Theatre presents ballets that many people consider Russia’s highest artistic achievement. Young dancers are trained at the Bolshoi Theatre’s school. The nation’s largest symphony orchestra performs at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In addition, Moscow has a number of famous drama theatres, such as the Maly and Moscow Art theatres.
The city has about 150 museums and art galleries. Dazzling treasures that belonged to the czars are displayed in the Armory Museum in the Kremlin.
Moscow State University is the largest university in the country. It was established in 1755, and has more than 30,000 students. Moscow has more than a thousand elementary schools and high schools, and over 80 specialized institutes.
About 3,000 main and branch libraries operate throughout Moscow. The Lenin State Library, the largest library in Russia , has one of the largest collections of books and manuscripts in the world.
Moscow is also the most important industrial city in Russia. Its factories produce a wide variety of products, but chiefly automobiles, buses, and trucks. Other important products include chemical, electrical machinery, measuring instruments, steel, and textiles.
The city is the transportation center of Russia. Moscow has three major airports. The Moscow Canal links the city to the great Volga River.