Moscow

 

The lights of Moscow

The lights of Moscow

 

What is Moscow for you? The magnificent Kremlin towers and walls? Unforgettable colourful domes of St.Basil’s Cathedral? Or its wide streets, monumental buildings and the very atmosphere of grandeur and imperishability? It can be any of these, can be more. But the fact remains – you will never become tired of exploring the infiniteness of the phenomenon of Moscow.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the settlement at the site of Moscow arose in the late 11th century, but the name “Moscow” is mentioned for the first time in the annals only in connection with the name of Prince Yury Dolgoruky. The last name can be translated as “Having long arms”. His arms were really long: from Suzdal they “reached for” Kiev, which he burned afterwards. Prince Yury conquered the estate of Boyar Kuchka – Moscow and made it his own hunting residence, and then his capital city in 1147. The chronicle says that “He established Moscow as a town” in 1156. By the way, Moscow, surprisingly, if translated from Finnish (Moscow is a word typical for that language), means “rotten place”, with its two ending letters (in transcription) meaning “water” in Finnish.

How did it happen that Moscow, in fact, such an unremarkable town of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality has became the capital of Russia?

 

"Russia Knights" above the Red Square

“Russia Knights” above the Red Square

 

Moscow had an advantageous geographical location. It was protected by forests and neighboring territories, was a principal node of the Volga and Oka interfluve trade routes and had fertile lands on which tilling was developed. Moscow acquired the status of a distinguished town under the authority of I. Kalita , the grandson of Alexander Nevsky. He built a wooden Kremlin in Moscow. The word “Kremlin”, translated from the Old Russian language, means the inner city fortress, the citadel. D. Donskoy, the grandson of Ivan Kalita, began the construction of a new white-stone Moscow Kremlin, the first stone fortress in Russia in 1366-1367. The Kremlin was expanded almost to the present territory, but the fortifications were lower than they are now. Their construction turned Moscow into an unattackable fortress for those times. In the 15th century, after the end of the era of feudal fragmentation, Moscow became the recognized capital of the North-East of Russia. Ivan III, great-grandson of D. Donskoy, ordered to build the Cathedral of the Assumption, which became the main shrine of Russia. It was inside the Cathedral that the icon of the Vladimirskaya Mother of God was held. Later the Faceted Chamber, intended for solemn receptions was built, the Archangel Cathedral, which was to became the principal tomb of Russian tsars. The construction works on the walls and towers of the new Kremlin also were launched. The red brick Kremlin, so recognizable nowadays and having become Moscow’s main attraction, was built during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. In fact, after all the works were finished, all the builders were killed so that they could not have built such beautiful buildings and temples as they had done in. In religious circles the theory that the “Moscow is the third Rome” was formed, developing Ivan the Third’s thoughts on it.

After the shock of the Time of Troubles, Moscow had laid in ruins for a long time. Finally, the restoration of the city and stone buildings erection began in 1619. The construction of Zemskyi Office building and the Mint is completed on the Red Square.

In 1703, according to the decree of tsar Peter the Great, St. Petersburg became the capital of Russia, although after his death all Russian tsars preferred Moscow for that purpose. But officially the capital was considered to be St. Petersburg till 1918.

Those who attacked Russia, burned its capital. The Crimean Khan Devlet-Girey burned Moscow, which were not protected by walls in 1571. The fire spread to the Kremlin and Chinatown. Moscow was also burned out by the Napoleonic army in 1812.

Now The Red SquareSt. Basil’s CathedralThe Bolshoi Theatre, Tretyakov Gallery, Kotelnicheskaya Embankment and Smolenskaya Square, Arbat Street are the main sights of Moscow, which are included in every tour to explore the great capital of Russia.

 

 

Interesting facts:

  • Area – 2,511 km²
  • Population – 11.92 million people
  • The most populous city in Europe – population density 4,880 people / km²
  • In the heart of Moscow there is a river, completely unknown for many generations of Muscovites – Neglinka River. Once it was a fairly full river, but it was enclosed in a pipe at the beginning of the 19th century, and now it goes unseen in the collector underground. Neglinnaya Street resembles the river track
  • The Moscow Kremlin – the world’s largest museum complex
  • In fact, Moscow metro was to be built when the country was ruled by the tsar. Such pioneering ideas were first suggested in 1875, a similar project was considered by the City Council in 1902. Then, when the project was to be launched to be implemented in 1914, the outbreak of the First World War did not make it happen. As a result, the underground was opened to public in 1935.
  • Ostankino television tower – the tallest television tower in Europe
  • The trees of Kolomenskoye, Moscow are 700 years old
  • The Moscow Lenin Library is the largest in Europe
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