Moscow

The existence of Moscow was first recorded in 1147. It was an isolated town in a minute disctrict, populated largely by a now-extinct Finnish tribe. The city was sacked by the Mongols in 1237 and all the people living there were killed. However, the city was restored thanks to its favorable location near the Volga River and began to grow. It  enjoyed stability for many years and drew refugees from all over Russia, who were fleeing Mongol rule. In 1380 Prince Dmitry Donskoi of Moscow triumphed over the Mongols with a Russian army, and the city played a key role in Russian independence, which was finally achieved in 1480. Moscow's status as capital city dates back to that time, although it  was not the capital throughout history. In fact, it was replaced by St Petersburg in 1703. Napoleon's army invaded the city in 1812, but eventually pulled back, having suffered overwhelmingly from hunger and cold.

The capital was moved back from St Petersburg to Moscow in 1917 under Lenin's regime due to issues of national security. During World War II Moscow residents formed 16 divisions and 25 battalions. In 1965 Moscow was declared the "City of Heroes" on account of the World War II victory. The city was the site of the summer Olympics in 1980.

The city has overcome many difficulties in its history and survives as a cultural and ethnic center. Communists organized a rebellion in 1991 against democratic reforms. The Soviet Republic became the Russian Federation that year, and Moscow was established as its capital. It is now an ultramodern European city with basic democratic principles in the spheres of economy and industry.

Moscow is the core of Russia in terms of art, especially ballet and theatre. The most renowned of the latter are the Bolshoi and Malyj.

There are many big universities in Moscow, among which the much-celebrated educational stronghold, Moscow State University. The tower of this institute of higher learning rises a full 240 meters and there are more than 37 000 students in various departments. The Russian Academy of Science is both an attraction and an educational center. At night it glows in all colors of the rainbow. It is located near the river, which reflects its indisputable beauty.

Moscow boasts UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Kremlin and the Red Square. The Kremlin has witnessed rebellions, festivities and many important events throughout history. It survives as one of the biggest museums in the world, containing priceless treasures and featuring historical artefacts.

On occasion Russian tsars were crowned in the Red Square and its name comes from the color of the bricks around it. There is no connection between Red and Communist here. Its Russian name is krasnia, which means both 'red' and 'beautiful'.

The most appropriate time to travel to the city is in the middle of winter - it is most beautiful then with snow drifting everywhere, covering the ancient architecture, a defining feature of this city. Keep in mind, though, that temperatures can drop under  -25 °C (-13 °F). There are five airports in Moscow - Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Ostafievo, Vnukovo and Bykovo. They are all international except for the last one. Local transport routes are offered by the subway. It is the biggest one in the world in terms of passengers - there are nine million a day!

Moscovians are very athletic, especially the youths, who love to watch and play soccer alike. There are branches of soccer clubs here, which extend throughout Europe.