In the early 19th century the prominent Russian historian Nikolay Karamzin said: "If you want to know Russia - go to Moscow." In the 21st century we have lots of reasons to repeat these words. It is the city where every stone breathes with history.
Moscow was founded in 1147 by the Prince of Suzdal, Jury Dolgoruky. Its wise founder built it in the middle of a densely populated country. The city ceased to be Russia’s capital in 1712, after the founding of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great near the Baltic coast in 1703. Moscow, like ancient Rome, stands on seven hills. The principle is the Borovitsky, the hill on which the Kremlin stands.
Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia. The city 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. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world. Moscow is also the seat of power of the Government of Russia, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence of the Russian president. The Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in the city.
Moscow's early architecture was simple but expressive. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, the Muscovites burned the city and evacuated, as Napoleon’s forces were approaching on 14 September. Napoleon’s army, plagued by hunger, cold and poor supply lines, was forced to retreat and was nearly annihilated by the devastating Russian winter and sporadic attacks by Russian military forces.
In 1941, sixteen divisions of the national volunteers, twenty-five battalions and four engineering regiments were formed among the Muscovites. That November, the German Army Group Center was stopped at the outskirts of the city and then driven off in the Battle of Moscow. Many factories were evacuated, together with most of the government, and from 20 October the city was declared to be under siege. Its remaining inhabitants built and supervised antitank defenses, while the city was subjected to air bombing. Joseph Stalin refused to leave Moscow, meaning that the general staff and the council of people's commissars remained in the city as well. Estimates of casualties for the Battle of Moscow range from 248,000 to 400,000 for the Germans and from 650,000 to 1,280,000 for the Soviet Union.
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.
The capital is the cultural centre. 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.
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.
The State Historical Museum of Russia is a museum of Russian history located between Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow. Its exhibitions range from relics of the prehistoric tribes inhabiting present-day Russia, through priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty. The total number of objects in the museum's collection numbers is several million.
Moscow is the undisputed financial center of Russia and home to the country's largest banks and many of its largest companies, such as natural gas giant Gazprom. Moscow has the lowest unemployment rate of all federal subjects of Russia.
Primary industries in Moscow include the chemical, metallurgy, food, textile, furniture, energy production, software development and machinery industries. However, some industry is now being transferred out of Moscow to improve the ecological state of the city. Nevertheless, the city of Moscow remains one of Russia's major industrial centres.
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