|• Body||City Duma|
|• Mayor||Sergey Sobyanin|
|• Total||2,561.5 km2 (989.0 sq mi)|
| • Estimate |
|Time zone||UTC+3 (MSK )|
|ISO 3166 code||RU-MOW|
|License plates||77, 177, 777; 97, 197, 797; 99, 199, 799|
Moscow (// MOS-koh, US chiefly // MOS-kow; Russian: Москва, tr. Moskva, IPA: [mɐskˈva] (listen)) is the capital and largest city of Russia. The city stands on the Moskva River in Central Russia, with a population estimated at 12.4 million residents within the city limits, over 17 million residents in the urban area, and over 20 million residents in the metropolitan area. The city covers an area of 2,511 square kilometers (970 sq mi), while the urban area covers 5,891 square kilometers (2,275 sq mi), and the metropolitan area covers over 26,000 square kilometers (10,000 sq mi). Moscow is among the world's largest cities; being the most populous city entirely in Europe, the largest urban and metropolitan area in Europe, and the largest city by land area on the European continent.
First documented in 1147, Moscow grew to become a prosperous and powerful city that served as the capital of the Grand Duchy that bears its name. When the Grand Duchy of Moscow evolved into the Tsardom of Russia, Moscow still remained as the political and economic center for most of the Tsardom's history. When the Tsardom was reformed into the Russian Empire, the capital was moved from Moscow to Saint Petersburg diminishing the influence of the city. The capital was then moved back to Moscow following the October Revolution and the city was brought back as the political center of the Russian SFSR and then the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Moscow remained as the capital city of the contemporary and newly established Russian Federation.
The northernmost and coldest megacity in the world, with a history that spans eight centuries, Moscow is governed as a federal city (since 1993) that serves as the political, economic, cultural, and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe. As an alpha world city, Moscow has one of the world's largest urban economies. The city is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world, and is one of Europe's most visited cities. Moscow is home to the fourth-highest number of billionaires of any city in the world, and has the highest number of billionaires of any city in Europe. The Moscow International Business Center is one of the largest financial centers in Europe and the world, and features some of Europe's tallest skyscrapers. Moscow was the host city of the 1980 Summer Olympics, and one of the host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
As the historic core of Russia, Moscow serves as the home of numerous Russian artists, scientists, and sports figures due to the presence of its various museums, academic and political institutions, and theaters. The city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is well known for its display of Russian architecture, particularly its historic Red Square, and buildings such as the Saint Basil's Cathedral and the Moscow Kremlin, of which the latter serves as the seat of power of the Government of Russia. Moscow is home to many Russian companies in numerous industries and is served by a comprehensive transit network, which includes four international airports, ten railway terminals, a tram system, a monorail system, and most notably the Moscow Metro, the busiest metro system in Europe, and one of the largest rapid transit systems in the world. The city has over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, making it one of the greenest cities in Europe and the world.
The name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River. Several theories of the origin of the name of the river have been proposed. Finno-Ugric Merya and Muroma people, who were among the several pre-Slavic tribes which originally inhabited the area, called the river supposedly Mustajoki, in English: Black river. It has been suggested that the name of the city derives from this term.
The most linguistically well-grounded and widely accepted is from the Proto-Balto-Slavic root *mŭzg-/muzg- from the Proto-Indo-European *meu- "wet", so the name Moskva might signify a river at a wetland or a marsh. Its cognates include Russian: музга, muzga "pool, puddle", Lithuanian: mazgoti and Latvian: mazgāt "to wash", Sanskrit: májjati "to drown", Latin: mergō "to dip, immerse". In many Slavic countries Moskov is a surname, most common in Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine and North Macedonia. Additionally, there are similarly named places in Poland like Mozgawa.
The original Old Russian form of the name is reconstructed as *Москы, *Mosky, hence it was one of a few Slavic ū-stem nouns. As with other nouns of that declension, it had been undergoing a morphological transformation at the early stage of the development of the language, as a result the first written mentions in the 12th century were Московь, Moskovĭ (accusative case), Москви, Moskvi (locative case), Москвe/Москвѣ, Moskve/Moskvě (genitive case). From the latter forms came the modern Russian name Москва, Moskva, which is a result of morphological generalisation with the numerous Slavic ā-stem nouns.
However, the form Moskovĭ has left some traces in many other languages, such as English: Moscow, German: Moskau, French: Moscou, Georgian: მოსკოვი, Latvian: Maskava, Ottoman Turkish: Moskov, Bashkir: Мәскәү, Tatar: Mäskäw, Portuguese: Moscovo, Mäskew, Finnish Moskova, Chuvash: Мускав, Muskav, Muskav, etc. In a similar manner the Latin name Moscovia has been formed, later it became a colloquial name for Russia used in Western Europe in the 16th–17th centuries. From it as well came English Muscovy and muscovite.
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 Soroks (Сорок Сороков) ("sorok" meaning both "forty, a great many" and "a district or parish" in Old Russian). Moscow is also one of the twelve Hero Cities. The demonym for a Moscow resident is "москвич" (moskvich) for male or "москвичка" (moskvichka) for female, rendered in English as Muscovite. The name "Moscow" is abbreviated "MSK" (МСК in Russian).
Archaeological digs show that the site of today's Moscow and the surrounding area have been inhabited since time immemorial. Among the earliest finds are relics of the Lyalovo culture, which experts assign to the Neolithic period, the last phase of the Stone Age.
They confirm that the first inhabitants of the area were hunters and gatherers. Around 950 AD, two Slavic tribes, Vyatichi and Krivichi, settled here. Possibly the Vyatichi formed the core of Moscow's indigenous population.
Early history (1147–1284)
The first known reference to Moscow dates from 1147 as a meeting place of Yuri Dolgoruky and Sviatoslav Olgovich. At the time it was a minor town on the western border of Vladimir-Suzdal Principality. The chronicle says, "Come, my brother, to Moskov" (Приди ко мне, брате, в Москов).
In 1156, Knyaz Yuri Dolgorukiy fortified the town with a timber fence and a moat. In the course of the Mongol invasion of Kievan Rus', the Mongols under Batu Khan burned the city to the ground and killed its inhabitants.
The timber fort na Moskvě "on the Moscow River" was inherited by Daniel, the youngest son of Alexander Nevsky, in the 1260s, at the time considered the least valuable of his father's possessions. Daniel was still a child at the time, and the big fort was governed by tiuns (deputies), appointed by Daniel's paternal uncle, Yaroslav of Tver.
Daniel came of age in the 1270s and became involved in the power struggles of the principality with lasting success, siding with his brother Dmitry in his bid for the rule of Novgorod. From 1283 he acted as the ruler of an independent principality alongside Dmitry, who became Grand Duke of Vladimir. Daniel has been credited with founding the first Moscow monasteries, dedicated to the Lord's Epiphany and to Saint Daniel.
Grand Duchy (1283–1547)
|The Moscow Kremlin in the late 16th century||The Siege of Moscow||Red Square|
Daniel ruled Moscow as Grand Duke until 1303 and established it as a prosperous city that would eclipse its parent principality of Vladimir by the 1320s.
On the right bank of the Moskva River, at a distance of eight kilometres (5 mi) from the Kremlin, not later than in 1282, Daniel founded the first monastery with the wooden church of St. Daniel-Stylite, which is now the Danilov Monastery. Daniel died in 1303, at the age of 42. Before his death, he became a monk and, according to his will, was buried in the cemetery of the St. Daniel Monastery.
Moscow was quite stable and prosperous for many years and attracted a large number of refugees from across Russia. The Rurikids maintained large landholdings by practicing primogeniture, whereby all land was passed to the eldest sons, rather than dividing it up among all sons. By 1304, Yury of Moscow contested with Mikhail of Tver for the throne of the principality of Vladimir. Ivan I eventually defeated Tver to become the sole collector of taxes for the Mongol rulers, making Moscow the capital of Vladimir-Suzdal. By paying high tribute, Ivan won an important concession from the Khan.
While the Khan of the Golden Horde initially attempted to limit Moscow's influence, when the growth of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania began to threaten all of Russia, the Khan strengthened Moscow to counterbalance Lithuania, allowing it to become one of the most powerful cities in Russia. In 1380, prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow led a united Russian army to an important victory over the Mongols in the Battle of Kulikovo. Afterward, Moscow took the leading role in liberating Russia from Mongol domination. In 1480, Ivan III had finally broken the Russians free from Tatar control, and Moscow became the capital of an empire that would eventually encompass all of Russia and Siberia, and parts of many other lands.
In 1462 Ivan III, (1440–1505) became Grand Prince of Moscow (then part of the medieval Muscovy state). He began fighting the Tatars, enlarged the territory of Muscovy, and enriched his capital city. By 1500 it had a population of 100,000 and was one of the largest cities in the world. He conquered the far larger principality of Novgorod to the north, which had been allied to the hostile Lithuanians. Thus he enlarged the territory sevenfold, from 430,000 to 2,800,000 square kilometres (170,000 to 1,080,000 square miles). He took control of the ancient "Novgorod Chronicle" and made it a propaganda vehicle for his regime.
The original Moscow Kremlin was built in the 14th century. It was reconstructed by Ivan, who in the 1480s invited architects from Renaissance Italy, such as Petrus Antonius Solarius, who designed the new Kremlin wall and its towers, and Marco Ruffo who designed the new palace for the prince. The Kremlin walls as they now appear are those designed by Solarius, completed in 1495. The Kremlin's Great Bell Tower was built in 1505–08 and augmented to its present height in 1600.
A trading settlement, or posad, grew up to the east of the Kremlin, in the area known as Zaradye (Зарядье). In the time of Ivan III, the Red Square, originally named the Hollow Field (Полое поле) appeared.
In 1508–1516, the Italian architect Aleviz Fryazin (Novy) arranged for the construction of a moat in front of the eastern wall, which would connect the Moskva and Neglinnaya and be filled in with water from Neglinnaya. This moat, known as the Alevizov moat and having a length of 541 metres (1,775 feet), width of 36 metres (118 feet), and a depth of 9.5 to 13 metres (31–43 feet) was lined with limestone and, in 1533, fenced on both sides with low, four-metre-thick (13-foot) cogged-brick walls.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the three circular defenses were built: Kitay-gorod (Китай-город), the White City (Белый город) and the Earthen City (Земляной город). However, in 1547, two fires destroyed much of the town, and in 1571 the Crimean Tatars captured Moscow, burning everything except the Kremlin. The annals record that only 30,000 of 200,000 inhabitants survived.
The Crimean Tatars attacked again in 1591, but this time were held back by new defense walls, built between 1584 and 1591 by a craftsman named Fyodor Kon. In 1592, an outer earth rampart with 50 towers was erected around the city, including an area on the right bank of the Moscow River. As an outermost line of defense, a chain of strongly fortified monasteries was established beyond the ramparts to the south and east, principally the Novodevichy Convent and Donskoy, Danilov, Simonov, Novospasskiy, and Andronikov monasteries, most of which now house museums. From its ramparts, the city became poetically known as Bielokamennaya, the "White-Walled." The city's limits as marked by the ramparts built in 1592 are now marked by the Garden Ring.
Three square gates existed on the eastern side of the Kremlin wall, which in the 17th century, were known as Konstantino-Eleninsky, Spassky, Nikolsky (owing their names to the icons of Constantine and Helen, the Saviour and St. Nicholas that hung over them). The last two were directly opposite the Red Square, while the Konstantino-Elenensky gate was located behind Saint Basil's Cathedral.
The Russian famine of 1601–03 killed perhaps 100,000 in Moscow. From 1610 through 1612, troops of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth occupied Moscow, as its ruler Sigismund III tried to take the Russian throne. In 1612, the people of Nizhny Novgorod and other Russian cities conducted by prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin rose against the Polish occupants, besieged the Kremlin, and expelled them. In 1613, the Zemsky sobor elected Michael Romanov tsar, establishing the Romanov dynasty. The 17th century was rich in popular risings, such as the liberation of Moscow from the Polish–Lithuanian invaders (1612), the Salt Riot (1648), the Copper Riot (1662), and the Moscow Uprising of 1682.
During the first half of the 17th century, the population of Moscow doubled from roughly 100,000 to 200,000. It expanded beyond its ramparts in the later 17th century. It is estimated, that in the middle of the 17th century, 20% of Moscow suburb's inhabitants were from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, practically all of them being driven from their homeland to Moscow by Muscovite invaders. By 1682, there were 692 households established north of the ramparts, by Ukrainians and Belarusians abducted from their hometowns in the course of the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667). These new outskirts of the city came to be known as the Meshchanskaya sloboda, after Ruthenian meshchane "town people". The term meshchane (мещане) acquired pejorative connotations in 18th-century Russia and today means "petty bourgeois" or "narrow-minded philistine".
Numerous disasters befell the city. The plague epidemics ravaged Moscow in 1570–1571, 1592 and 1654–1656. The plague killed upwards of 80% of the people in 1654–55. Fires burned out much of the wooden city in 1626 and 1648. In 1712 Peter the Great moved his government to the newly built Saint Petersburg on the Baltic coast. Moscow ceased to be Russia's capital, except for a brief period from 1728 to 1732 under the influence of the Supreme Privy Council.
After losing the status as the capital of the empire, the population of Moscow at first decreased, from 200,000 in the 17th century to 130,000 in 1750. But after 1750, the population grew more than tenfold over the remaining duration of the Russian Empire, reaching 1.8 million by 1915. The 1770–1772 Russian plague killed up to 100,000 people in Moscow.
By 1700, the building of cobbled roads had begun. In November 1730, the permanent street light was introduced, and by 1867 many streets had a gaslight. In 1883, near the Prechistinskiye Gates, arc lamps were installed. In 1741 Moscow was surrounded by a barricade 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, the Kamer-Kollezhskiy barrier, with 16 gates at which customs tolls were collected. Its line is traced today by a number of streets called val (“ramparts”). Between 1781 and 1804 the Mytischinskiy water pipe (the first in Russia) was built. In 1813, following the destruction of much of the city during the French occupation, a Commission for the Construction of the City of Moscow was established. It launched a great program of rebuilding, including a partial replanning of the city-centre. Among many buildings constructed or reconstructed at this time was the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Kremlin Armoury, the Moscow University, the Moscow Manege (Riding School), and the Bolshoi Theatre. In 1903 the Moskvoretskaya water supply was completed.
In the early 19th century, the Arch of Konstantino-Elenensky gate was paved with bricks, but the Spassky Gate was the main front gate of the Kremlin and used for royal entrances. From this gate, wooden and (following the 17th-century improvements) stone bridges stretched across the moat. Books were sold on this bridge and stone platforms were built nearby for guns – "raskats". The Tsar Cannon was located on the platform of the Lobnoye mesto.
The road connecting Moscow with St. Petersburg, now the M10 highway, was completed in 1746, its Moscow end following the old Tver road, which had existed since the 16th century. It became known as Peterburskoye Schosse after it was paved in the 1780s. Petrovsky Palace was built in 1776–1780 by Matvey Kazakov.
When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, the Moscovites were evacuated. It is suspected that the Moscow fire was principally the effect of Russian sabotage. Napoleon's Grande Armée was forced to retreat and was nearly annihilated by the devastating Russian winter and sporadic attacks by Russian military forces. As many as 400,000 of Napoleon's soldiers died during this time.
Moscow State University was established in 1755. Its main building was reconstructed after the 1812 fire by Domenico Giliardi. The Moskovskiye Vedomosti newspaper appeared from 1756, originally in weekly intervals, and from 1859 as a daily newspaper.
The Arbat Street had been in existence since at least the 15th century, but it was developed into a prestigious area during the 18th century. It was destroyed in the fire of 1812 and was rebuilt completely in the early 19th century.
In the 1830s, general Alexander Bashilov planned the first regular grid of city streets north from Petrovsky Palace. Khodynka field south of the highway was used for military training. Smolensky Rail station (forerunner of present-day Belorussky Rail Terminal) was inaugurated in 1870. Sokolniki Park, in the 18th century the home of the tsar's falconers well outside Moscow, became contiguous with the expanding city in the later 19th century and was developed into a public municipal park in 1878. The suburban Savyolovsky Rail Terminal was built in 1902. In January 1905, the institution of the City Governor, or Mayor, was officially introduced in Moscow, and Alexander Adrianov became Moscow's first official mayor.
When Catherine II came to power in 1762, the city's filth and the smell of sewage were depicted by observers as a symptom of disorderly lifestyles of lower-class Russians recently arrived from the farms. Elites called for improving sanitation, which became part of Catherine's plans for increasing control over social life. National political and military successes from 1812 through 1855 calmed the critics and validated efforts to produce a more enlightened and stable society. There was less talk about the smell and the poor conditions of public health. However, in the wake of Russia's failures in the Crimean War in 1855–56, confidence in the ability of the state to maintain order in the slums eroded, and demands for improved public health put filth back on the agenda.
Soviet period (1917–1991)
|Song from the Soviet film|
In November 1917, upon learning of the uprising happening in Petrograd, Moscow's Bolsheviks also began their uprising. On November 2 (15), 1917, after heavy fighting, Soviet power was established in Moscow.
Then Vladimir Lenin, fearing possible foreign invasion, moved the capital from Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) back to Moscow on March 12, 1918. The Kremlin once again became the seat of power and the political centre of the new state.
With the change in values imposed by communist ideology, the tradition of preservation of cultural heritage was broken. Independent preservation societies, even those that defended only secular landmarks such as Moscow-based OIRU were disbanded by the end of the 1920s. A new anti-religious campaign, launched in 1929, coincided with the collectivization of peasants; the destruction of churches in the cities peaked around 1932. In 1937 several letters were written to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to rename Moscow to "Stalindar" or "Stalinodar," one from an elderly pensioner whose dream was to "live in Stalinodar" and had selected the name to represent the "gift" (dar) of the genius of Stalin. Stalin rejected this suggestion, and after it was suggested again to him by Nikolai Yezhov, he was outraged, saying "What do I need this for?". This was following Stalin banning the renaming of places in his name in 1936.
During World War II, the Soviet State Committee of Defence and the General Staff of the Red Army were located in Moscow. In 1941, 16 divisions of the national volunteers (more than 160,000 people), 25 battalions (18,000 people), and four engineering regiments were formed among the Muscovites. Between October 1941 and January 1942, the German Army Group Centre was stopped at the outskirts of the city and then driven off in the course of the Battle of Moscow. Many factories were evacuated, together with much of the government, and from October 20 the city was declared to be in a state of siege. Its remaining inhabitants built and manned antitank defenses, while the city was bombarded from the air. On May 1, 1944, a medal "For the defence of Moscow" and in 1947 another medal "In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow" was instituted.
Both German and Soviet casualties during the Battle of Moscow have been a subject of debate, as various sources provide somewhat different estimates. Total casualties between September 30, 1941, and January 7, 1942, are estimated to be between 248,000 and 400,000 for the Wehrmacht and between 650,000 and 1,280,000 for the Red Army.
|Stalins USSR in 1953|
During the postwar years, there was a serious housing crisis, solved by the invention of high-rise apartments. There are over 11,000 of these standardised and prefabricated apartment blocks, housing the majority of Moscow's population, making it by far the city with the most high-rise buildings. Apartments were built and partly furnished in the factory before being raised and stacked into tall columns. The popular Soviet-era comic film Irony of Fate parodies this construction method.
The city of Zelenograd was built in 1958 at 37 kilometres (23 miles) from the city centre to the north-west, along with the Leningradskoye Shosse, and incorporated as one of Moscow's administrative okrugs. Moscow State University moved to its campus on Sparrow Hills in 1953.
In 1959 Nikita Khrushchev launched his anti-religious campaign. By 1964 over 10 thousand churches out of 20 thousand were shut down (mostly in rural areas) and many were demolished. Of 58 monasteries and convents operating in 1959, only sixteen remained by 1964; of Moscow's fifty churches operating in 1959, thirty were closed and six demolished.
The MKAD (ring road) was opened in 1961. It had four lanes running 109 kilometres (68 miles) along the city borders. The MKAD marked the administrative boundaries of the city of Moscow until the 1980s when outlying suburbs beyond the ring road began to be incorporated. In 1980, it hosted the Summer Olympic Games, which were boycotted by the United States and several other Western countries due to the Soviet Union's involvement in Afghanistan in late 1979. In 1991 Moscow was the scene of a coup attempt by conservative communists opposed to the liberal reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev.
Recent history (1991–present)
When the USSR was dissolved in the same year, Moscow remained the capital of the Russian SFSR (on December 25, 1991, the Russian SFSR was renamed the Russian Federation). Since then, a market economy has emerged in Moscow, producing an explosion of Western-style retailing, services, architecture, and lifestyles.
The city has continued to grow during the 1990s to 2000s, its population rising from below nine to above ten million. Mason and Nigmatullina argue that Soviet-era urban-growth controls (before 1991) produced controlled and sustainable metropolitan development, typified by the greenbelt built in 1935. Since then, however, there has been a dramatic growth of low-density suburban sprawl, created by heavy demand for single-family dwellings as opposed to crowded apartments. In 1995–1997 the MKAD ring road was widened from the initial four to ten lanes.
In December 2002 Bulvar Dmitriya Donskogo became the first Moscow Metro station that opened beyond the limits of MKAD. The Third Ring Road, intermediate between the early 19th-century Garden Ring and the Soviet-era outer ring road, was completed in 2004. The greenbelt is becoming more and more fragmented, and satellite cities are appearing at the fringe. Summer dachas are being converted into year-round residences, and with the proliferation of automobiles there is heavy traffic congestion. Multiple old churches and other examples of architectural heritage that had been demolished during the Stalin era have been restored, such as the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. In 2010s Moscow's Administration has launched some long duration projects like the Moja Ulitsa (in English: My Street) urban redevelopment program or the Residency renovation one.
By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012, southwest into the Moscow Oblast the area of the capital more than doubled, going from 1,091 to 2,511 square kilometers (421 to 970 sq mi), resulting in Moscow becoming the largest city on the European continent by area; it also gained an additional population of 233,000 people. The annexed territory was officially named Новая Москва (New Moscow).
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 metres (512 feet). Teplostan Upland 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 serves as the reference point for the time zone used in most of European Russia, Belarus and the Republic of Crimea. The areas operate in what is referred to in international standards as Moscow Standard Time (MSK, МСК), which is 3 hours ahead of UTC, or UTC+3. Daylight saving time is no longer observed. According to the geographical longitude the average solar noon in Moscow occurs at 12:30.
Moscow has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb) with long, cold (although average by Russian standards) winters usually lasting from mid-November to the end of March, and warm summers. More extreme continental climates at the same latitude- such as parts of Eastern Canada or Siberia- have much colder winters than Moscow, suggesting that there is still significant moderation from the Atlantic Ocean despite the fact that Moscow is far from the sea. Weather can fluctuate widely, with temperatures ranging from −25 °C (−13 °F) in the city and −30 °C (−22 °F) in the suburbs to above 5 °C (41 °F) in the winter, and from 10 to 35 °C (50 to 95 °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 −20 °C (−4 °F). These periods usually last about a week or two. The growing season in Moscow normally lasts for 156 days usually around May 1 to October 5.
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 July 29, 2010, during the unusual 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat waves. Record high temperatures were recorded for January, March, April, May, July, August, November, and December in 2007–2014. The average July temperature from 1981 to 2010 is 19.2 °C (66.6 °F). The lowest ever recorded temperature was −42.1 °C (−43.8 °F) in January 1940. Snow, which is present for about five months a year, often begins to fall mid-October, while snow cover lies in November and melts at 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. This large annual variation is due to convective cloud formation. In the winter, moist air from the Atlantic condenses in the cold continental interior, resulting in very overcast conditions. However, this same continental influence results in considerably sunnier summers than oceanic cities of similar latitude such as Edinburgh. Between 2004 and 2010, the average was between 1800 and 2000 hours with a tendency to more sunshine in summer months, up to a record 411 hours in July 2014, 79% of possible sunshine. December 2017 was the darkest month in Moscow since records began, with only six minutes of sunlight.
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 north-east of Moscow is −6.7 °C (19.9 °F), in the suburbs it is about −9 °C (16 °F). The temperature difference between the centre of Moscow and nearby areas of Moscow Oblast can sometimes be more than 10 °C (18 °F) on frosty winter nights.
|Climate data for Moscow (VVC) normals 1991–2020, records 1879–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||8.6
|Average high °C (°F)||−3.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−6.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−8.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−42.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||53
|Average rainy days||8||6||9||15||16||16||15||16||16||17||13||8||155|
|Average snowy days||25||23||15||6||1||0||0||0||0.3||5||17||24||116|
|Average relative humidity (%)||85||81||74||68||67||72||74||78||82||83||86||86||78|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||33||72||128||170||265||279||271||238||147||78||32||18||1,731|
|Percent possible sunshine||14||27||35||40||53||53||52||51||38||24||13||8||34|
|Average ultraviolet index||0||1||2||3||5||6||6||5||3||1||1||0||3|
|Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net, Thermograph.ru, Meteoweb.ru (sunshine hours)|
|Source 2: Weather Atlas (UV)|
|Climate data for Moscow (VVC) normals 1961–1990|
|Average high °C (°F)||−6.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−9.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−12.3
Recent changes in Moscow's regional climate, since it is in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, are often cited by climate scientists as evidence of global warming, though by definition, climate change is global, not regional. During the summer, extreme heat is often observed in the city (2001, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2021). Along with a southern part of Central Russia, after recent years of hot summer seasons, the climate of the city gets hot-summer classification trends. Winter also became significantly milder: for example, the average January temperature in the early 1900s was −12.0 °C (10.4 °F), while now it is about −7.0 °C (19.4 °F). At the end of January–February it is often colder, with frosts reaching −30.0 °C (−22.0 °F) a few nights per year (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013).
The last decade was the warmest in the history of meteorological observations of Moscow. Temperature changes in the city are depicted in the table below:
|Climate data for Moscow (2009–2018, VVC)|
|Average high °C (°F)||−6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−7.9
|Average low °C (°F)||−9.7
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||37||65||142||213||274||299||323||242||171||88||33||14||1,901|
|Wind direction in Moscow from 2002 to 2012 (average values)|
|Population size may be affected by changes in administrative divisions.|
|No ethnicity declared||-||-||668,409||5.8%|
- 668,409 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.
The official population of Moscow is based on those holding "permanent residency". According to Russia's Federal Migration Service, Moscow holds 1.8 million official "guests" who have temporary residency on the basis of visas or other documentation, giving a legal population of 13.3 million. The number of Illegal immigrants, the vast majority originating from Central Asia, is estimated to be an additional 1 million people, giving a total population of about 14.3 million.
Total fertility rate:
- 2010 - 1.25
- 2014 - 1.34
- 2015 - 1.41
- 2016 - 1.46
- 2017 - 1.38
- 2018 - 1.41
- 2019 - 1.50
- 2020 - 1.47
- Births (2016): 145,252 (11.8 per 1000)
- Deaths (2016): 123,623 (10.0 per 1000)
Christians form the majority of the city's population; most of whom adhere Russian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch of Moscow serves as the head of the church and resides in the Danilov Monastery. Moscow was called the "city of 40 times 40 churches"—prior to 1917. Moscow is Russia's capital of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has been the country's traditional religion.
Other religions practiced in Moscow include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Yazidism, and Rodnovery. The Moscow Mufti Council claimed that Muslims numbered around 1.5 million of 10.5 million of the city's population in 2010; There are four mosques in the city.
Moscow's architecture is world-renowned. Moscow is 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 aurae of the renaissance. From the end of the 15th century, the city was embellished by 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 by constant fires and 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 mansions and commercial buildings The city's newfound status as the capital of a deeply secular 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.
Perhaps the most recognizable contributions of the Stalinist period are the so-called Seven Sisters, seven massive skyscrapers scattered throughout the city at about an equal distance from the Kremlin. A defining feature of Moscow's skyline, their imposing form was allegedly inspired by the Manhattan Municipal Building in New York City, and their style—with intricate exteriors and a large central spire—has been described as Stalinist Gothic architecture. All seven towers can be seen from most high points in the city; they are among the tallest constructions in central Moscow apart from the Ostankino Tower, which, when it was completed in 1967, was the highest free-standing land structure in the world and today remains the world's seventy-second tallest, ranking among buildings such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Taipei 101 in Taiwan and the CN Tower in Toronto.
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. 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 nine 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 as Chicago. 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 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 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.
|Panoramic view of Moscow||Panoramic view of Moscow|
Parks and landmarks
There are 96 parks and 18 gardens in Moscow, including four botanical gardens. There are 450 square kilometres (170 sq mi) of green zones besides 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi) of forests. Moscow is a very green city, if compared to other cities of comparable size in Western Europe and North America; this is partly due to a history of having green "yards" with trees and grass, between residential buildings. There are on average 27 square meters (290 sq ft) of parks per person in Moscow compared with 6 for Paris, 7.5 in London and 8.6 in New York.
Gorky Park (officially the Central Park of Culture and Rest named after Maxim Gorky), was founded in 1928. The main part (689,000 square metres or 170 acres) along the Moskva river contains estrades, children's attractions (including the Observation Wheel water ponds with boats and water bicycles), dancing, tennis courts and other sports facilities. It borders the Neskuchny Garden (408,000 square metres or 101 acres), the oldest park in Moscow and a former imperial residence, created as a result of the integration of three estates in the 18th century. The Garden features the Green Theater, one of the largest open amphitheaters in Europe, able to hold up to 15 thousand people. Several parks include a section known as a "Park of Culture and Rest", sometimes alongside a much wilder area (this includes parks such as Izmaylovsky, Fili and Sokolniki). Some parks are designated as Forest Parks (lesopark).
Izmaylovsky Park, created in 1931, is one of the largest urban parks in the world along with Richmond Park in London. Its area of 15.34 square kilometres (5.92 sq mi) is six times greater than that of Central Park in New York.
Bauman Garden, officially founded in 1920 and renamed in 1922 after the bolshevik Nikolay Bauman, is one of the oldest parks in Moscow. It is standing on the site of the former Golitsyn estate and eighteenth-century public garden.
Losiny Ostrov National Park ("Elk Island" National Park), with a total area of more than 116 square kilometres (45 sq mi), borders Sokolniki Park and was Russia's first national park. It is quite wild, and is also known as the "city taiga" – elk can be seen there.
Tsytsin Main Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences, founded in 1945 is the largest in Europe. It covers the territory of 3.61 square kilometres (1.39 sq mi) bordering the All-Russia Exhibition Center and contains a live exhibition of more than 20 thousand species of plants from around the world, as well as a lab for scientific research. It contains a rosarium with 20 thousand rose bushes, a dendrarium, and an oak forest, with the average age of trees exceeding 100 years. There is a greenhouse taking up more than 5,000 square metres (53,820 square feet) of land.
The All-Russian Exhibition Center (Всероссийский выставочный центр), formerly known as the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) and later Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh), though officially named a "permanent trade show", is one of the most prominent examples of Stalinist-era monumental architecture. Among the large spans of a recreational park, areas are scores of elaborate pavilions, each representing either a branch of Soviet industry and science or a USSR republic. Even though during the 1990s it was, and for some part still is, misused as a gigantic shopping center (most of the pavilions are rented out for small businesses), it still retains the bulk of its architectural landmarks, including two monumental fountains (Stone Flower and Friendship of Nations) and a 360 degrees panoramic cinema. In 2014 the park returned to the name Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy, and in the same year, huge renovation works had been started.
Lilac Park, founded in 1958, has a permanent sculpture display and a large rosarium. Moscow has always been a popular destination for tourists. Some of the more famous attractions include the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site, Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, which was built between the 14th and 17th centuries. The Church of the Ascension at Kolomenskoye, which dates from 1532, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and another popular attraction.
Near the new Tretyakov Gallery there is a sculpture garden, Museon, often called "the graveyard of fallen monuments" that displays statues of the former Soviet Union that were removed from their place after its dissolution.
Other attractions include the Moscow Zoo, a zoological garden in two sections (the valleys of two streams) linked by a bridge, with nearly a thousand species and more than 6,500 specimens. Each year, the zoo attracts more than 1.2 million visitors. Many of Moscow's parks and landscaped gardens are protected natural environments.
|Zaryadye Park||VDNKh||Victory park on Poklonnaya Hill|
Moscow's road system is centered roughly on the Kremlin at the heart of the city. From there, roads generally span outwards to intersect with a sequence of circular roads ("rings").
- The first and innermost major ring, Bulvarnoye Koltso (Boulevard Ring), was built at the former location of the 16th-century city wall around what used to be called Bely Gorod (White Town). The Bulvarnoye Koltso is technically not a ring; it does not form a complete circle, but instead a horseshoe-like arc that begins at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and ends at the Yauza River.
- The second primary ring, located outside the bell end of the Boulevard Ring, is the Sadovoye Koltso (
Aside from the aforementioned hierarchy, line 5 of Moscow Metro is a circle-shaped looped subway line (hence the name Koltsevaya Liniya, literally "ring line"), which is located between the Sadovoye Koltso and Third Transport Ring.
Two modern overlapping lines of Moscow Metro form "two hearts":
- Line 14. Since September 10, 2016, Moscow Central Circle renovated railroad (former Moskovskaya Okruzhnaya Zheleznaya Doroga) was introduced as Line 14 of Moscow Metro. The cone-shaped railroad initially opened in 1908 (freight-only railway from 1934 until the 2016 reopening).
- Line 11. Another circle metro line - Big Circle Line (Bolshaya Koltsevaya Liniya) is under construction and will be finished in 2023. Kakhovskaya-Savyolovskaya western half of the line was launched in late 2021.
The outermost ring within Moscow is the Moscow Ring Road (often called MKAD, acronym word for Russian Московская Кольцевая Автомобильная Дорога), which forms the cultural boundary of the city, was established in the 1950s. It is to note the method of building the road (usage of ground elevation instead of concrete columns throughout the whole way) formed a wall-like barrier that obstacles building roads under the MKAD highway itself).
- Before 2012 expansion of Moscow, MKAD was considered an approximate border for Moscow boundaries.
Outside Moscow, some of the roads encompassing the city continue to follow this circular pattern seen inside city limits, with the notable examples of Betonka roads (highways A107 and A108), originally made of concrete pads.
In order to reduce transit traffic on MKAD, the new ring road (called CKAD - Centralnaya Koltsevaya Avtomobilnaya Doroga, Central Ring Road) is under construction now.
Transport rings in Moscow
|9 km||Boulevard Ring – Bulvarnoye Koltso (not a full ring)||Road|
|16 km||Garden Ring – Sadovoye Koltso ("B")||Road|
|19 km||Koltsevaya line (Line 5)||Metro|
|35 km||Third Ring Road – Third Transport Ring – Tretye Transportnoye Koltso (TTK)||Road|
|54 km||Little Ring of the Moscow Railway, re-opened as Moscow Central Ring (MCC) – Line 14||Railway|
|20.2 km||Bolshaya Koltsevaya line – Line 11||Metro|
|109 km||Moscow Automobile Ring Road – Moskovskaya Koltsevaya Avtomobilnaya Doroga (MKAD)||Road|
One of the most notable art museums in Moscow is the Tretyakov Gallery, which was founded by Pavel 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 paintings from every major Western era; works by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Pablo Picasso are present in the museum's collection.