About the city
Moscow is the capital of Russia, the largest city in Russia, and the country’s economic, financial, educational, and transportation centre. It is located on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia. The metropolitan area of Moscow is the largest in Europe, whose population constitutes about 7% of the total Russian population. Historically, it was the capital of the former Soviet Union and the Grand Duchy of Moscow, the pre-Imperial Russian state. It is the site of the Kremlin, which now serves as the ceremonial residence of the President of Russia.
Moscow also remains a major economic centre and is home to a large number of Russian billionaires; in 2007 Moscow was named the world's most expensive city for the second year in a row. It is home to many scientific and educational institutions, as well as numerous sport facilities. It possesses a complex transport system that includes the world’s busiest metro system, which is famous for its architecture.
The city is named after the river (literally the city by the Moskva River). The origin of the name is unknown, although several theories exist. One theory suggests that the source of the name is an ancient Finnic language, in which it means “dark” and “turbid”.
The Moscow Kremlin and the Moskva River
The first Russian reference to Moscow dates from 1147 when Yuri Dolgoruki called upon the prince of the Novgorod Republic to “come to me, brother, to Moscow.” Nine years later, in 1156, Prince Yuri Dolgoruki of Rostov ordered the construction of a wooden wall, which had to be rebuilt multiple times, to surround the emerging city. After the sacking of 1237-1238, when the Mongols burned the city to the ground and killed its inhabitants, Moscow recovered and became the capital of an independent principality in 1327. Its favourable position on the headwaters of the Volga River contributed to steady expansion. Moscow developed into a stable and prosperous principality for many years and attracted a large number of refugees from across Russia.
Kremlin Embankment and Moscow skyline with Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on the left and Kremlin on the right
Under Ivan I the city replaced Tver as capital of Vladimir-Suzdal and became the sole collector