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Geography of Moscow, Russia

Learn Ten Facts About Russia's Capital City

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St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russa

The moon rises over St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. The cathedral is an iconic symbol of Moscow and Russia in general. It is located in Red Square and was built in the 16th century.

Grant Faint/Getty Images
Updated April 04, 2010

Moscow is Russia's capital city and is the largest city in the country. As of January 1, 2010, Moscow's population was 10,562,099, which also makes it one of the top ten largest cities in the world. Because of its size, Moscow is one of the most influential cities in Russia and dominates the country in politics, economics and culture among other things.

Moscow is located in Russia's Central Federal District along the Moskva River and covers an area of 417.4 square miles (9,771 sq km).

The following is a list of ten things to know about Moscow:

1) In 1156 the first references to the construction of a wall around a growing city called Moscow began to appear in Russian documents as did descriptions of the city being attacked by the Mongols in the 13th century. Moscow was first made a capital city in 1327 when it was named capital of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality. It later became known as the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

2) Throughout much of the rest of its history, Moscow was attacked by rival empires and armies. In the 17th century a large part of the city was damaged during citizen uprisings and in 1771 much of Moscow's population died due to plague. Shortly thereafter in 1812, Moscow's citizens (called Muscovites) burned the city during Napoleon's invasion.

3) After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Moscow became the capital of what would eventually become the Soviet Union in 1918. During World War II however, a large portion of the city suffered damage from bombings. Following WWII, Moscow grew but instability continued in the city during the fall of the Soviet Union. Since then though, Moscow has become more stable and is a growing economic and political center of Russia.

4) Today, Moscow is a highly organized city located on the banks of the Moskva River. It has 49 bridges crossing the river and a road system that radiates in rings out from the Kremlin in the city's center.

5) Moscow has a climate with humid and warm to hot summers and cold winters. The hottest months are June, July and August while the coldest is January. The average high temperature for July is 74°F (23.2°C) and the average low for January is 13°F (-10.3°C).

6) The city of Moscow is governed by one mayor but it is also broken down into ten local administrative divisions called okrugs and 123 local districts. The ten okrugs radiate out around the central district which contains the city's historic center, Red Square and the Kremlin.

7) Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture because of the presence of many different museums and theaters in the city. Moscow is home to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the Moscow State Historical Museum. It is also home to Red Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8) Moscow 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. Distinctive modern buildings are also beginning to be constructed throughout the city.

9) Moscow is considered one of the largest economies in Europe and its main industries include chemicals, food, textiles, energy production, software development and furniture manufacturing. The city is also home to some of the world's largest companies.

10) In 1980, Moscow was host of the Summer Olympics and thus has a variety of different sports venues that are still used by the many sports teams within the city. Ice hockey, tennis and rugby are some popular Russian sports.

To learn more about Moscow visit Lonely Planet's Guide to Moscow.

Reference

Wikipedia. (2010, March 31). "Moscow." Moscow- Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow

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