Moscow is the capital of Russia and Europe’s largest city. The metropolis of Moscow has 12,616,000 residents (2019). In addition, there are several millions who are not registered or only live briefly in the city. The population increases annually.
The area of the city itself is 879 square kilometers. It constitutes a separate subject within the Russian Federation. The city is governed by a directly elected mayor, more, with great power, and a city government. The mayor appoints prefects who govern the individual districts. The elected assembly is now called the City Duma.
Moscow is located in the middle of European Russia by the Moscow River, a bee to Oka that flows east to Volga.
Moscow is Russia’s leading industrial and commercial city. The textile and clothing industry has long been the most important industry, producing both wool and cotton. After the Second World War, the iron and metal and chemical industries had a great expansion. However, employment in the industry is now declining. Alongside the city’s own industrial strength was Moscow’s leading role in the Soviet economy linked to the city’s position in the central planning and supply system. When this began to collapse towards the end of the 1980s, Moscow was hit hard, including with significant food supply problems. However, the city quickly assumed a supreme leadership role in the new Russia’s economy, now as a financial center. The vast majority of financing in Russia is channeled through banks and credit institutions in Moscow, besides government agencies. The average wage level is higher than anywhere else in Russia.
Moscow is the seat of the Russian government and the vast majority of central bodies in administration, finance and business. The city is also the country’s scientific and cultural center. In 1934 most of the Academy of Sciences (founded in 1725) moved here from Leningrad. Other notable scientific institutes include the University of Moscow from 1755, named after scientist Mikhail Lomonosov. In total, there are around 80 colleges and universities. About 20 per cent of the working population is directly or indirectly employed in research and teaching.
The state public library (formerly the Lenin Library) with 30 million volumes is the largest library. The city has numerous museums and art collections. The most famous are the Tretyakov Gallery, which has the largest collection of Russian painting art from different periods, the Pushkin Museum of Classical and Modern Western Art and the Moscow Historical Museum. The leading theaters are the Bolshoi Theater (Opera and Ballet), the Malay Theater (Drama) and the Moscow Artist Theater (founded by Konstantin Stanislavsky). The state circus and the city’s puppet theater are also internationally famous. There are a number of concert halls, including Tchaikovsky-the hall and the Moscow Conservatory, and several symphony orchestras.
Transport and Communications
Moscow is Russia’s most important transport hub. There are eleven main railways radiating radially out of the city and connecting Moscow with almost all the major cities of the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe. Moscow’s three river ports, which do not have the same significance as the railways, are linked to a comprehensive system of rivers and canals all over the European part of Russia. Aviation is very well developed. Both Sheremetyevo, north of Moscow city center, Domodedovo in the south and Vnukovo in the southwest are used for both national and international traffic. These airports are connected to the city center by air train. The smaller airports, Bykovo in the southeast and Ostafevo in the south, are used for domestic air traffic.
Much of the local passenger traffic is by metro (metro), which began in 1935 and has a total length of more than 300 kilometers, with about 1805 stations. Especially the palace-like, marble-clad stations from the latter part of the Stalin period are among the city’s sights. By the way, trolleybuses are widely used in the inner city areas, tram, marching route and bus farther out. In the 1990s, private motoring increased dramatically and traffic density in central areas is now the same as in large western cities.
The inner city core
Moscow is marked by the contradiction between the settlements of the Tsar era and modern urban design and planning. The settlement is concentrated around the old Kremlin and Kitaj-gorod districts (northeast of the Kremlin). The Kremlin, which is now officially the seat of the Russian president, is a fortress surrounded by a 2.4 kilometer long and 20 meter high wall with 19 towers erected in the 15th century. Inside the walls are offices, barracks, palaces and several churches and cathedrals, including Tsars coronation cathedral Uspenskij from 1475-1479, Blagoveshchensk Cathedral from 1484-1489, Tsars baptismal and marriage church, Archangel Cathedral from 1505-1509 (Tsars grave church before Peter the Great), and the 16th-century Ivan Veliki bell tower with its dominant, gilded loop dome, with 22 large and over 30 smaller bells. The six-meter-high and 200-ton heavy czar bell (1735) has never been used.
Amongst the palaces are the Facet Palace (Granovitaja Palata) from the late 1400s, the great Bolshoi Dvorets of the 1840s, used by the Supreme Soviet during the Soviet period, and the modern Congress Palace (1961). Just east of the Kremlin lies Krasnaja’s plush jade, “The Red (or Beautiful) Square”, an old square used for large political gatherings and military parades during the Soviet period. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, it has been used for several major cultural events. Parts of the wall around the square have been rebuilt. On the long side up to the wall around the Kremlin lies Lenin’s mausoleum in polished, red granite with Lenin’s sarcophagus(Stalins was relocated in 1961). The honor guard has been removed, and in the 1990s it was discussed several times to transfer Lenin’s body to a regular burial ground. At the southeast end of the square lies the 1550-year-old Vasiliki Cathedral, Russia’s perhaps most picturesque church building. It consists of eight chapels, each with its own dome and a ninth tower in the middle. At The Red Square is also the large, formerly state-run, GUM department store, which was originally a bazaar and has now been turned into an exclusive shopping center.
The red square separates the Kremlin from the old merchant district of Kitajgorod, Russia’s administrative center with many government offices. Outside the Kremlin Wall is the large Manesj Square, which was excavated in the mid-1990s to accommodate an underground shopping and entertainment center. In this area is also the State Duma in the former Gosplan building. Parliament’s upper house – the Federation Council – is located in a more modest building a little further away. The White House, built in the latter part of the 1970s, which housed the Supreme Soviet until the disintegration and shelling in 1993, is flashy in white marble on the Moscow River a few miles west of the Kremlin. It is now being used by the Prime Minister and the rest of the government. Along the old entry roads towards the city center are several fortified monasteries that would defend the city. They are in different constitution. The most famous is the nunnery “The New Virgin”, founded in 1524.
Residential areas and suburbs
From the central area, wide streets radiate out to the suburbs and industrial areas surrounding the city center itself, including Tver Street (formerly Gorky Street), which is bordered by large granite-clad buildings, and Novyj Arbat (formerly the Kalinin Prospect), which was extended with typical office and residential buildings. during the Khrushchev period. Crossing the major entrance streets to the city center, ring streets are built largely where walls and earth walls surrounded the old town. The most important ring streets are the Bulevardringen in a distance of 1.5 km from Red Square, and the Sadova year about one kilometer outside the former. 15-20 kilometers from the city center is a 109 kilometer long ring motorway, completed in 1962, which at the same time partly marks Moscow’s present city boundary. Outside of this lies a wide forest and park belt with many cottages that separate Moscow from the surrounding suburbs and satellite towns (goroda-sputniki). In this zone a large number of detached houses were built in the 1990s, partly with an exclusive standard, a form of housing that was almost unknown in the Soviet period.
Since Moscow’s first general plan was drawn up in 1935, the city has almost completely changed its appearance. The main streets have been extended to 50-60 meters wide, and a number of high-rise buildings have been erected near the center. Further out there are large industrial buildings and residential blocks of 6-20 floors. People’s parks and sports facilities are built between the buildings, including Lenin Stadium, one of Europe’s largest sports facilities, Luzhniki Park southwest of the center and the Gorky Park by the Moscow River near the center. Most of the older industrial areas are located in the south and west along the Moscow River, most recent in the east. A characteristic feature of the city’s contour is the seven giant high-rise buildings built in “Stalingotics” just after World War II. The largest is the huge Moscow University, 240 meters high and 450 meters long, built in 1949–1953, located on the “Spurve Hill” (formerly Lenin Hill) overlooking the city.
From the 1990s there has been extensive replacement and modernization of the building complex in the center. The city authorities have placed strong restrictions on new buildings in the center and emphasize that facades are retained. However, after the turn of the millennium, several monumental buildings from the Soviet period have been demolished, such as the Moscow and Rossija giant hotels. Several churches have been rebuilt from the ground up. The most prominent is Christ the Savior’s Cathedral, Russia’s largest church, which was demolished in the 1930s to make way for a gigantic administration building that failed to materialize, and instead became an outdoor swimming pool. The work was started in 1995 to be completed for the city’s 850th anniversary in 1997. Up to 3,000 construction workers were engaged, and the domes were plated with 400 kilograms of gold. North of the city center is the 540 meter high TV tower Ostankino, one of the world’s tallest freestanding buildings, which was severely damaged by fire in 2000. 4 kilometers west of the Kremlin, by the Moscow River, lies the Moscow City area. It houses homes, business skyscrapers, amusement parks, transport terminals and public administration buildings. Outside the city center, after the turn of the millennium, several high-rise apartments with luxury apartments have sprung up in a distinctive postmodern style, often with towers.
Since the 1960s and 1970s, planning in Moscow has aimed to limit the city’s growth, including restrictions on immigration, and at the same time spreading housing and industry to the city’s outskirts and new satellite towns in Moscow county. Zelenograd is one of the newest satellite towns, 30 kilometers northeast of Moscow’s city center, built in the 1960s according to the pattern of British new towns. It is subject to the capital’s administration, although it is outside the city limits.
Moscow is mentioned in the chronicles for the first time as a city during the year 1147. It was then ruled by the princes of Vladimir. In 1328, under Ivan 1, the city became the political center of northeastern Russia and the residence of the metropolitans, and from the end of the 15th century the capital of the new, centralized Russian state. The old Kremlin town castle, which was erected in wood and burnt down several times, was expanded and erected in stone.
The great princes of Moscow called themselves the czars (caesar) of 1547, which was the 400th anniversary of the city’s “founding”. In the 17th century there was much turmoil in Moscow, and in 1712 Peter 1 moved the capital to the newly created St. Petersburg, but Moscow retained its role as the second center of the kingdom and gained Russia’s first university in 1755.
In 1812, Moscow was captured by Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops, but the city’s residents had set fire to the city before escaping it, which made it impossible for the troops to winter. When most of the buildings were wooden, the destruction was enormous. About 70 percent of the city was destroyed, and it was rebuilt following a partially altered plan, but still with the Kremlin as the centerpiece. In the 19th century it developed into the country’s second largest industrial center and most important railway hub. During the 1905 revolutions and in 1917, the city was the scene of hard street fighting.
The capital was again relocated to Moscow in March 1918, and the city then underwent a growth that came to put St. Petersburg (later Leningrad) in the shade. During World War II, the city was severely threatened, especially in December 1941, and the government temporarily relocated to Kujbyshev (Samara) at Volga (until 1943).