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
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
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
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
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
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
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
1. When did Moscow become the
2. What was the former capital of
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
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
12. What would you like to see in
13. Have you ever been to the
14. What do you know about the
15. What is the biggest and the most
famous university of Russia?
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