The city is said to date back eight-and-a half-centuries, with the first references to it in chronicles from 1147. It was built by Suzdal’s Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy on the sweeping curve of the Moskva River. From its humble beginnings as a hunting village, it grew steadily into a fortress city, to become later the central point of the whole Russian state.
Russia’s most intense human aspirations, be they artistic, religious or political, have found their most passionate expression in Moscow. The reflection of these aspirations can be seen in the beautiful architecture created over several centuries, particularly in Moscow’s symbols — the Kremlin, Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral.
Moscow — the capital of the Russian Federation and one of the country’s most popular destinations for foreign visitors.
Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world. It has grown rapidly in recent decades, and, as a result, comprises high-rise suburbs surrounding a relatively compact historic centre with plenty of fascinating ancient architecture. Apart from being a major political player on the world stage, Moscow is also an extremely popular city for business and tourism.
Population: 12 million.
Area: approximately 1035 sq km.
Climate: average temperature in winter — between -10 and -15C; spring – 0-10C; summer – 18-24C; autumn 10C.
Administrative division: 10 administrative districts, which are in turn segmented into 128 city regions.
Where to stay: there are more than 200 hotels in Moscow. The hotels can be defined according to Western standard ratings (newly built) and local standard ratings (old/renovated hotels). The type of a hotel does not affect the price very much.
Where to eat: most of Moscow’s best restaurants and bars are located in central Moscow. Arbat Street has the highest concentration and variety of restaurants. Russkoye bistro is a popular new chain offering fast food Russian-style.
Shopping: there are numerous Western-style supermarkets and department stores. The most interesting shopping districts are located within the Garden Ring. The main department stores are around Red Square, the biggest and most famous of which is the State Department Store — GUM. For the best souvenirs and antique shops, head for the pedestrianised Arbat Street.
Main sightseeing: Red Square, Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin Mausoleum, State Armoury, Tretyakov Gallery, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Bolshoy Theatre, Kuskovo, and Kolomenskoye.
Entertainment: Moscow offers many forms of entertainment, from museums, theatres, ballets and operas, to musicals and concerts, from world-famous exhibitions to a wide variety of night life.
Getting around: There are nine railway stations and five airports. Inside the city, the most reliable way of travelling is by Metro, which has stations close to all the major sights. Moscow is also served by buses, trams and trolley buses. Taxis can be found in any part of the city.