Moscow is the capital of Russia. The city is located in western Russia and lies in the broad, shallow valley of the Moskva River, a tributary of the Oka and thus of the Volga, in the centre of the vast plain of European Russia. This region is one of the most highly developed and densely populated areas of Russia.
The climate of Moscow is of the continental type, modified by the temperate influence of westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Winters are cold and long, summers are short and mild . The moderate annual precipitation occurs predominantly in the summer months, often in brief, heavy downpours.
Only a small percentage of Moscow's population is employed in the city centre because of the decentralization of workplaces. Industry is the dominant source of employment, followed by science and research. Although Moscow's role in the country's administration is of prime importance, government as a source of employment is relatively minor.
Engineering (production of automobiles and trucks, ball bearings, machine tools, and precision instruments) and metalworking are by far the most important industries. Other important activities include the manufacture of textiles, chemicals and derivative products, and consumer goods (foodstuffs, footwear, and pianos); timber processing; construction; and printing and publishing. Moscow is the headquarters of state insurance and banking organizations.
The pattern of rings and radials that marked the historical stages of Moscow's growth remains evident in its modern layout. Successive epochs of development are traced by the Boulevard Ring and the Garden Ring (both following the line of former fortifications), the Moscow Little Ring Railway, and the Moscow Ring Road. From 1960 to the mid-1980s the Ring Road was the administrative limit of the city, but several areas of the largely greenbelt zone beyond the road have been annexed since then.
The centre of the city and the historical heart of Moscow is the fortified enclosure of the Kremlin. Its crenellated redbrick walls and 20 towers (19 with spires) were built at the end of the 15th century and were partially rebuilt in later years. Within the walls of the Kremlin are located the meeting places of the government of Russia. Among these are the former Senate building (1776-88), the Kremlin Great Palace (1838-49), and the modern Palace of Congresses (1960-61). Other features within the Kremlin include the central Cathedral Square, around which are grouped three cathedrals, all examples of Russian church architecture at its height in the late 15th and early 16th centuries; a group of palaces of various periods; the white bell tower of Ivan III the Great; the Armoury Museum; and the Arsenal (1702-36).
Along the east wall of the Kremlin lies Red Square, the ceremonial centre of the capital. The Lenin Mausoleum stands beneath the Kremlin walls, and the Church of the Intercession, or Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, is at the southern end of the square. The State Department Store, GUM, faces the Kremlin, and the State Historical Museum (1875-83) closes off the northern end of the square.
In the remainder of central Moscow, within the Garden Ring, are buildings representative of every period of Moscow's development from the 15th century to the present. Examples of the Moscow Baroque style, the Classical period, and the revivalist Old Russian style may be found. In the Soviet period streets were widened, and much of the old part of the inner city was demolished and replaced by large office and apartment buildings, government ministries, headquarters of national and international bodies and organizations, hotels and larger shops, and principal cultural centres.
Beyond the Garden Ring is a middle zone dominated by 18th- and 19th-century developments; many factories, railway stations, and freight yards are located there. Since 1960 extensive urban renewal has occurred, producing neighbourhoods of high-rise apartment buildings. The outer zone has been the site of modern factory development and extensive housing construction in the 20th century. Beyond the newer suburbs are areas of open land and forest, together with satellite industrial towns and dormitory suburbs.
Moscow's inhabitants are overwhelmingly of Russian nationality, but members of more than 100 other nationalities and ethnic groups also live there. Population density, though lowered by outward expansion of the city, has remained high because of the vast number of large apartment buildings.
Moscow has a large concentration of educational institutions, and its centres of higher education draw students from throughout Russia. Moscow State University (1755) is the leading educational institution. The city's many specialized educational institutions include the Moscow Timiryazev Academy of Agriculture and the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. Scientific research is conducted by the Academy of Sciences of Russia and many institutions linked to industry. The city's libraries include the V.I. Lenin State Library.
Theatre, music, and art are important in the city's life. The State Academic Bolshoi ("Great") Theatre (1825), Maly ("Little") Theatre, and Moscow Art Theatre are especially renowned. Of the many museums and galleries, the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the State Tretyakov Gallery are notable.
Few people in Moscow own automobiles, necessitating heavy reliance on public transportation provided by the Metropolitan (Metro) subway, buses, streetcars, and trolleybuses. The Metro system, which reflects the city's street patterns, is known for the elaborate architecture of its stations. Moscow is the centre of the country's rail network, on which freight transport is heavily dependent. Trunk rail lines radiate from the city in all directions to major Russian population and industrial centres, to Ukraine, Belarus, and eastern Europe, and to Central Asia. Suburban commuter traffic is facilitated by the Moscow Little Ring Railway (1908) and the Greater Moscow Ring Railway, which link radial lines. Passenger trains connect to destinations throughout Russia and Europe. Moscow is also a major river port and is served by the Moscow Canal. The Volga's various canals link Moscow to all the seas surrounding European Russia. Moscow is the centre of the country's airline network; the Sheremetyevo airport, in the north, handles international flights.
One of the world's great cities, Moscow (Russian Moskva) is the capital of Russia. Since it was first mentioned in chronicles of 1147, Moscow has played a vital role in Russian history; indeed the history of the city and of the Russian nation are closely interlinked. Today Moscow is not only the political centre of Russia but also the country's leading city in population, in industrial output, and in cultural, scientific, and educational importance. For more than 600 years Moscow has been the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) until its dissolution in 1991, Moscow attracted world attention as a centre of Communist power; the name of the seat of the former Soviet government and successor Russian government, the Kremlin (Russian Kreml), became a synonym for Soviet authority. The dissolution of the U.S.S.R. brought economic and political change, along with a degree of uncertainty over the future, to the city. Moscow covers an area of about 386 square miles (1,000 square kilometres), its outer limit being roughly delineated by the Moscow Ring Road. Most of the area beyond this highway has been designated as a Forest-Park Zone, or greenbelt.
In March of 1918 Moscow became the capital. The supreme organs of state power and many central institutions moved to Moscow from Petrograd. It was extremely difficult in the years of the Civil war to see the image of a new city in deserted and unheated Moscow.
The rapid growth of Moscow's population occurred during the twenties and thirties, in 1931 work began to develop the Master Reconstruction Plan of Moscow, a plan which many people abroad considered to be vain dream.
The city grew and changed, the streets and squares became wider, the wooden houses at the former outskirts disappeared. But the buildings of cultural and historical value were carefully preserved.
Today, as ever, the Kremlin with Red Square is the centre of Moscow. Here Moscow began more than eight hundred years ago. The city has grown so vast since, the present and the past are so closely interwoven that one can not embrace it all at once.
Certain villages, distant country estates have become the new residential areas of Moscow. New dwellings rose not only within the established parts of Moscow but new neighbourhoods took shape in Tyoply Stan, Orekhovo-Borisovo, Yasenevo.
In the past century Moscow went through the invasion of Napoleon's army that forced all Muscovites to leave their city. Moscow was burned down but was never conquered. Once the enemy was driven away. its inhabitants set about building Moscow anew.
Nowadays in erecting new buildings, the Muscovites take care to preserve its unique monuments. Its architectural ensembles have been formed over the centuries and each generation added features of its Lime to the appearance of the city.
The city has thousands of libraries, schools, kindergartens and nurseries, hundreds of clubs and cinemas, dozens of higher educational establishments, theatres, museums and stadiums.
Neither words nor convincing figures, however, can give a complete idea of what had been done in Moscow. One has to visit Moscow plants and factories, to stroll about its streets and squares, to see its new residential areas.
The Kremlin is now both a piece of living history and an ensemble of masterpieces of Russian architecture.
The first thing that meets the eye is the redbrick walls of the Kremlin, reinforced by 20 towers, five of which are also gates. The Kremlin's towers are unique in appearance. Built in 1485, the Tainitsky Tower is the oldest. The highest of them is the Trinity Tower which is 80 metres tall.
The Bolshoi Theatre was opened in 1825. The theatre seats 2,150. The company has more than 900 members.
The State Tretyakov Gallery. The gallery's works of Russian fine arts range from unique mosaics and icons of the 11th century to works of contemporary artists. The gallery is named after great Russian Connoisseur Pavel Tretyakov who left his collection as a gift to the nation. It has become one of the most popular places of interest in Moscow since then.
1. When did Moscow become the capital?
2. What was the former capital of Russia?
3. When did the rapid growth of Moscow's population occur?
4. What is the centre of Moscow?
5. When did Napoleon's invasion take place?
6. What did all Muscovites do then?
7. Do Muscovites love their city? What do they do for Moscow?
8. What new residential areas in Moscow do you know?
9. Have you ever been to Moscow?
10. What impression did Moscow produce on you?
11. What places of interest do you know?
12. What would you like to see in Moscow?
13. Have you ever been to the Bolshoi Theatre?
14. What do you know about the Tretyakov Gallery?
15. What is the biggest and the most famous university of Russia?