Moscow (/ˈmɒskaʊ/ or /ˈmɒskoʊ/; Russian: Москва, tr. Moskva; IPA: [mɐˈskva]) is the capital city and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural and scientific center in Russia and inEastern Europe. According to Forbes 2013, Moscow has the largest number of billionaire residents in the world, has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and is one of the world’s largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and is also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth, one of the most populous in Europe and the 8th largest city proper in the world, as well as the largest amongst high income economies. It is home to the Ostankino Tower, thetallest free standing structure in Europe; Mercury City Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Europe and the Moscow International Business Center. It is the largest city in Russia, with a population of 12,111,194 people (2014). By its territorial expansion on 1 July 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the capital increased its area 2.5 times; from about 1,000 square kilometers (390 sq mi) up to 2,511 square kilometers (970 sq mi), and gained an additional population of 233,000 people.
City will host will host 2018 FIFA World Cup matches.
Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia making it the world’s most populated inland city. The city is well known for its unique architecture which consists of many different historic buildings such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012. In the course of its history the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Soviet Union. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of prestigious Russian artists, scientists and sports figures during the course of its history and because of the presence of many different museums, academic and political institutions and theaters. Moscow is also the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence of the Russian president. The Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in the city.
The city is served by an extensive transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railway terminals, numerous trams, a monorail system and one of the deepest underground metro systems in the world, the Moscow Metro, the fourth-largest in the world and largest outside of Asia in terms of passenger numbers. It is recognized as one of the city’s landmarks due to the rich and varied architecture of its 194 stations.
Over time, Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), The Whitestone One (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков), and The Hero City (город-герой). In old Russian the word «Сорок» (forty) also meant a church administrative district, which consisted of about forty churches. The demonym for a Moscow resident is «москвич» (moskvich), rendered in English as Muscovite.
Moscow is situated on the banks of the Moskva River, which flows for just over 500 km (311 mi) through the East European Plain in central Russia. 49 bridges span the river and its canals within the city’s limits. The elevation of Moscow at the All-Russia Exhibition Center (VVC), where the leading Moscow weather station is situated, is 156 m (512 ft). Teplostanskaya highland is the city’s highest point at 255 metres (837 feet).The width of Moscow city (not limiting MKAD) from west to east is 39.7 km (24.7 mi), and the length from north to south is 51.8 km (32.2 mi).
Moscow has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with long, cold (although average by Russian standards) winters usually lasting from mid-November through the end of March, and warm summers. Weather can fluctuate widely with temperatures ranging from −25 °C (−13 °F) in the city and −30 °C (−22 °F) in suburbs to above 0 °C (32 °F) in the winter and from 15 to 30 °C (59 to 86 °F) in the summer. Typical high temperatures in the warm months of June, July and August are around a comfortable 20 to 26 °C (68 to 79 °F), but during heat waves (which can occur between May and September), daytime high temperatures often exceed 30 °C (86 °F), sometimes for a week or two at a time. In the winter, average temperatures normally drop to approximately −10 °C (14 °F), though almost every winter there are periods of warmth with day temperatures rising above 0 °C (32 °F), and periods of cooling with night temperatures falling below −30 °C (−22 °F). These periods usually last about a week or two. The highest temperature ever recorded was 38.2 °C (100.8 °F)at the VVC weather station and 39.0 °C (102.2 °F) in the center of Moscow and Domodedovo airport on 29 July 2010 during the unusual 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat wave. Record high temperatures were recorded for January, March, April, May, August, November and December in 2007.The average July temperature from 1981–2010 is 19.2 °C (66.6 °F). The lowest ever recorded temperature was −42.2 °C (−44.0 °F) in January 1940. Snow, which is present for about five months a year, often begins to fall at the mid of October, while snow cover lies in November and melts in the beginning of April.
On average Moscow has 1731 hours of sunshine per year, varying from a low of 8% in December to 52% from May to August.Between 2004 and 2010, the average was between 1800 and 2000 hours with a tendency to more sunshine in summer months.
Due to megalopolis specificity, temperatures in the centre of Moscow are often significantly higher than in the outskirts and nearby suburbs, especially in winter. For example, if the average February temperature in the centre of Moscow is −6.7 °C (19.9 °F), in the suburbs it’s about −10 °C (14 °F). The temperature difference between Moscow and nearby areas of Moscow Oblast can sometimes be more than 10 C° (18 F°)
Moscow’s architecture is world-renowned. Moscow is also well known as the site of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, with its elegant onion domes, as well as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Seven Sisters. The first Kremlin was built in the middle of the 12th century.
Medieval Moscow’s design was of concentric walls and intersecting radial thoroughfares. This layout, as well as Moscow’s rivers, helped shape Moscow’s design in subsequent centuries.
The Kremlin was rebuilt in the 15th century. Its towers and some of its churches were built by Italian architects, lending the city some of the aura of the renaissance. From the end of the 15th century, the city was embellished by increasing numbers of masonry structures such as monasteries, palaces, walls, towers, and churches.
The city’s appearance had not changed much by the 18th century. Houses were made of pine and spruce logs, with shingled roofs plastered with sod or covered by birch bark. The rebuilding of Moscow in the second half of the 18th century was necessitated not only by constant fires, but also the needs of the nobility. Much of the wooden city was replaced by buildings in the classical style.
For much of its architectural history, Moscow was dominated by Orthodox churches. However, the overall appearance of the city changed drastically during Soviet times, especially as a result of Joseph Stalin’s large-scale effort to «modernize» Moscow. Stalin’s plans for the city included a network of broad avenues and roadways, some of them over ten lanes wide, which, while greatly simplifying movement through the city, were constructed at the expense of a great number of historical buildings and districts. Among the many casualties of Stalin’s demolitions was the Sukharev Tower, a longtime city landmark, as well as numerous mansions and commercial buildings lining the major streets. The city’s newfound status as the capital of a deeply secular, totalitarian nation, made religiously significant buildings especially vulnerable to demolition. Many of the city’s churches, which in most cases were some of Moscow’s oldest and most prominent buildings, were destroyed; some notable examples include the Kazan Cathedral and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. During the 1990s, both were rebuilt. Many smaller churches, however, were lost.
While the later Stalinist period was characterized by the curtailing of creativity and architectural innovation, the earlier post-revolutionary years saw a plethora of radical new buildings created in the city. Especially notable were the constructivist architects associated with VKHUTEMAS, responsible for such landmarks as Lenin’s Mausoleum. Another prominent architect was Vladimir Shukhov, famous for Shukhov Tower, just one of many hyperboloid towers designed by Shukhov. It was built between 1919 and 1922 as a transmission tower for a Russian broadcasting company. Shukhov also left a lasting legacy to the Constructivist architecture of early Soviet Russia. He designed spacious elongated shop galleries, most notably the GUM department store on Red Square, bridged with innovative metal-and-glass vaults.
The Soviet goal of providing housing for every family, and the rapid growth of Moscow’s population, led to the construction of large, monotonous housing blocks. These can often be identified by age, sturdiness of construction, or ‘style’ depending on the neighborhood and the materials used. Most of these date from the post-Stalin era and the styles are often named after the leader then in power (Brezhnev, Khrushchev, etc.). They are usually badly maintained.
Although the city still has some five-story apartment buildings constructed before the mid-1960s, more recent apartment buildings are usually at least 9 floors tall, and have elevators. It is estimated that Moscow has over twice as many elevators as New York City and four times as many asChicago. Moslift, one of the city’s major elevator operating companies, has about 1500 elevator mechanics on call, to release residents trapped in elevators.
Stalinist-era buildings, mostly found in the central part of the city, are massive and usually ornamented with Socialist realism motifs that imitate classical themes. However, small churches – almost always Eastern Orthodox– found across the city provide glimpses of its past. The Old Arbat Street, a popular tourist street that was once the heart of a bohemian area, preserves most of its buildings from prior to the 20th century. Many buildings found off the main streets of the inner city (behind the Stalinist façades of Tverskaya Street, for example) are also examples of bourgeois architecture typical of Tsarist times. Ostankino Palace, Kuskovo, Uzkoye and other large estates just outside Moscow originally belong to nobles from the Tsarist era, and some convents and monasteries, both inside and outside the city, are open to Muscovites and tourists.
Attempts are being made to restore many of the city’s best-kept examples of pre-Soviet architecture. These restored structures are easily spotted by their bright new colors and spotless façades. There are a few examples of notable, early Soviet avant-garde work too, such as the house of the architect Konstantin Melnikov in the Arbat area. Many of these restorations were criticized for alleged disrespect of historical authenticity. Facadism is also widely practiced.Later examples of interesting Soviet architecture are usually marked by their impressive size and the semi-Modernist styles employed, such as with the Novy Arbat project, familiarly known as “false teeth of Moscow” and notorious for the wide-scale disruption of a historic area in central Moscow involved in the project.
Plaques on house exteriors will inform passers-by that a well-known personality once lived there. Frequently, the plaques are dedicated to Soviet celebrities not well-known outside (or often, like with decorated generals and revolutionaries, now both inside) of Russia. There are also many «museum houses» of famous Russian writers, composers, and artists in the city.
Moscow’s skyline is quickly modernizing with several new towers under construction.
In recent years, the city administration has been widely criticized for heavy destruction that has affected many historical buildings. As much as a third of historic Moscow has been destroyed in the past few years to make space for luxury apartments and hotels.Other historical buildings, including such landmarks as the 1930 Moskva hotel and the 1913 department store Voyentorg, have been razed and reconstructed anew, with the inevitable loss of historical value. Critics also blame the government for not enforcing conservation laws: in the last 12 years more than 50 buildings with monument status were torn down, several of those dating back to the 17th century.Some critics also wonder if the money used for the reconstruction of razed buildings could not be used for the renovation of decaying structures, which include many works by architect Konstantin Melnikov and Mayakovskaya metro station.
Some organizations, such as Moscow Architecture Preservation Society and Save Europe’s Heritage, are trying to draw the international public attention to these problems.
Life and culture
One of the most notable art museums in Moscow is the Tretyakov Gallery, which was founded byPavel Tretyakov, a wealthy patron of the arts who donated a large private collection to the city.The Tretyakov Gallery is split into two buildings. The Old Tretyakov gallery, the original gallery in the Tretyakovskaya area on the south bank of the Moskva River, houses works in the classic Russian tradition. The works of famous pre-Revolutionary painters, such as Ilya Repin, as well as the works of early Russian icon painters can be found here. Visitors can even see rare originals by early 15th-century iconographer Andrei Rublev.The New Tretyakov gallery, created in Soviet times, mainly contains the works of Soviet artists, as well as of a few contemporary paintings, but there is some overlap with the Old Tretyakov Gallery for early 20th-century art. The new gallery includes a small reconstruction of Vladimir Tatlin’s famous Monument to the Third International and a mixture of other avant-garde works by artists like Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky. Socialist realism features can also be found within the halls of the New Tretyakov Gallery.
Another art museum in the city of Moscow is the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded by, among others, the father of Marina Tsvetaeva. The Pushkin Museum is similar to the British Museum in London in that its halls are a cross-section of exhibits on world civilisations, with many copies of ancient sculptures. However, it also hosts famous paintings from every major Western era; works byClaude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Pablo Picasso are present in the museum’s collection.
The State Historical Museum of Russia (Государственный Исторический музей) is a museum of Russian history located between Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow. Its exhibitions range from relics of the prehistoric tribes inhabiting present-day Russia, through priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty. The total number of objects in the museum’s collection numbers is several million. The Polytechnical Museum, founded in 1872 is the largest technical museum in Russia, offering a wide array of historical inventions and technological achievements, including humanoid automata from the 18th century and the first Soviet computers. Its collection contains more than 160,000 items. The Borodino Panorama museum located on Kutuzov Avenue provides an opportunity for visitors to experience being on a battlefield with a 360° diorama. It is a part of the large historical memorial commemorating the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812 over Napoleon’s army, that includes also the triumphal arch, erected in 1827. There is also a military history museum not to be missed, it includes statues, military hardware, and one will surely hear many interesting stories.
Moscow is also the heart of the Russian performing arts, including ballet and film. There are 93 theaters, 132 cinemas and 24 concert halls in Moscow. Among Moscow’s many theaters and ballet studios is the Bolshoi Theatre and the Malyi Theatre as well as Vakhtangov Theatre and Moscow Art Theatre. The repertories in a typical Moscow season are numerous and modern interpretations of classic works, whether operatic or theatrical, are quite common.
The Moscow International Performance Arts Center, opened in 2003, also known as Moscow International House of Music, is known for its performances in classical music. It also has the largest organ in Russia installed in Svetlanov Hall.
There are also two large circuses in Moscow: Moscow State Circus and Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard named after Yuri Nikulin.
Memorial Museum of Astronautics under the Monument to the Conquerors of Space in the end ofCosmonauts Alley is the central memorial place for the Russian space officials.
Soviet films are integral to Russian film history and the Mosfilm studio was at the heart of many classic films, as it is responsible for both artistic and mainstream productions.However, despite the continued presence and reputation of internationally renowned Russian filmmakers, the once prolific native studios are much quieter. Rare and historical films may be seen in the Salut cinema, where films from the Museum of Cinema collection are shown regularly.
The Shchusev State Museum of Architecture is the national museum of Russian architecture by the name of the architect Alexey Shchusev near the Kremlin area.
Hotels in Moscow