Moscow (Romanized: Moskva) is the capital of Russia and the country's principal political, economic, financial, educational, and transportation center, located on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia. The name of the city is usually pronounced "Mos-koh" (rhyming with "toe") in British English and "Mos-kow" (rhyming with "cow") in US English. The city's population of 10.4 million permanent inhabitants within the city boundaries constitutes about 7% of the total Russian population. Likewise, it is the most populous city in Europe. Historically, its position was central in the Russian homeland. It was the capital of the former Soviet Union and Muscovite Russia, the pre-Imperial Russian state. It is the site of the famous Kremlin, which now serves as the ceremonial residence of the President.
Moscow's architecture and performing arts culture are world-renowned. Moscow is also well known as the site of Saint Basil's Cathedral, with its elegant onion domes, as well as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The Patriarch of Moscow, whose residence is the Danilov Monastery, serves as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Moscow also remains a major economic center and is home to a large number of billionaires; it is perennially considered one of the most expensive cities for expatriate employees in the world. 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. Moscow also became the host of the 1980 Summer Olympics.
Moscow is the seat of power for the Russian Federation. At the center of the city, in the Central Administrative Okrug, is the Moscow Kremlin, which houses the home of the President of Russia as well as many of the facilities for the national government. This includes numerous military headquarters and the headquarters of the Moscow Military District. Moscow, like with any national capital, is also the host of all the foreign embassies and diplomats representing a multitude of nations in Russia. On a slightly smaller scale, Moscow is located within the Central Federal District, one of the seven federal districts of Russia. As result, it falls under the administration of a representative appointed by the President of Russia to head the district. Moscow is also designated as one of only two federal cities - Saint Petersburg being the other - within Russia. Lastly, Moscow is located within the central economic region, one of twelve regions within Russia with similar economic goals.
In addition to being the capital of Russia, Moscow is the administrative center of Moscow Oblast. Since Moscow has status of a federal city, it is administratively separate from the oblast.
Moscow is exposed to cold winters, warm and mild summers, and very brief spring and autumn seasons. Typical high temperatures in the warm months of July and August are around 22 C (72 F); in the winter, temperatures normally drop to approximately -12 C (10 F) Absolute maximum in summer +36,7. Monthly rainfall totals vary minimally throughout the year, although the precipitation levels tend to be higher during the summer than during the winter. Due to the significant variation in temperature between the winter and summer months as well as the limited fluctuation in precipitation levels during the summer, Moscow is considered to be within a continental climate zone.
Moscow is situated on the banks of the Moskva River, which flows for just over five hundred kilometers through western Russia, in the center of the East-European plain. There are 49 bridges across Moskva River and its canals within city limits.
Moscow's road system is centered roughly around the heart of the city, the Moscow Kremlin. From there, the roads in general radiate out to intersect with a sequence of circular roads or "rings" focused at the Kremlin.
For a long time the view of the city was dominated by numerous orthodox churches. The look of the city changed drastically during Soviet times, mostly due to Joseph Stalin, who oversaw a large-scale effort to modernize the city. He introduced broad avenues and roadways, some of them over ten lanes wide, but he also destroyed a great number of historically significant architectural works. The Sukharev Tower, as well as numerous mansions and stores lining the major streets, and various works of religious architecture, such as the Kazan Cathedral and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, were all destroyed during Stalin's rule. During the 1990s, however, both the latter were rebuilt.
Stalin, however, is also credited with building the The Seven Sisters, comprising seven, cathedral-like structures. A defining feature of Moscow's skyline, their imposing form was allegedly inspired by the Manhattan Municipal Building in New York City, and their style - with intricate exteriors and a large central spire - has been described as Stalinist Gothic architecture. All seven towers can be seen from most elevations in the city; they are among the tallest constructions in central Moscow apart from the Ostankino Tower which, when it was completed in 1967, was the tallest free-standing land structure in the world and today remains the world's second-tallest.
Museums and galleriesMany of Moscow's museums and galleries have collections that can be compared to those of the best museums of Western Europe and North America. Frequent art exhibitions thrive on both the new and the classic, as they once did in pre-Revolutionary times, and are derived from diverse branches of the arts - painting, photography, and sculpture.
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. Currently the Tretyakov Gallery is split into two buildings. The Old Tretyakov, the original gallery in the Tretyakovskaya area on the south bank of the Moskva River, houses the works of the classic Russian tradition. The works of famous pre-Revolutionary painters, such as Ilya Repin, as well as the works of early Russian icon painters can be found in the Old Tretyakov Gallery. Visitors can even see rare originals by early-fifteenth century iconographer Andrei Rublev. The New Tretyakov, created in Soviet times, mainly contains the works of Soviet artists, as well as of a few contemporary artists, but there is some overlap with the Old Tretyakov Gallery for early twentieth century art. The new gallery includes a small reconstruction of Vladimir Tatlin's famous Monument to the Third International and a mixture of other avant-garde works by artists like Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky. Socialist realism features can also be find within the halls of the New Tretyakov Gallery.
Another art museum in the city of Moscow is the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded by, among others, Marina Tsvetaeva's father. The Pushkin Museum is similar to the British Museum in London in that its halls are a cross-section of world civilizations, with many plaster casts of ancient sculptures. However, it also hosts famous paintings from every major Western era of art; works by Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, and Pablo Picasso are all sampled there.
The State Historical Museum of Russia is a museum of Russian history wedged 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 in the millions. The Polytechnical Museum, founded in 1872 is the largest technical museum in Russia, offering a wide array of historical inventions and technological achievements, including humanoid automata of the 18th century and the first Soviet computers. Its collection contains more than 160,000 items. The Borodino Panorama museum located on Kutuzov Avenue provides an opportunity for visitors to experience being on a battlefield with a 360 diorama. It is a part of the large historical memorial commemorating the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812 over Napoleon's army, that includes also the Triumphal arch erected in 1827.
Local transport includes the Moscow Metro, a metro system famous for its art, murals, mosaics, and ornate chandeliers. When it first opened in 1935, the system had just one line. But today, the Moscow Metro contains twelve lines, mostly underground with a total of 172 stations. Park Pobedy ("Victory Park"), completed in 2003, is the deepest metro station in the world, which also contains the longest escalators in Europe. The Moscow Metro is one of world's busiest metro system, serving more than seven million passengers daily. There is also a monorail line, operated by the same company. Facing serious transportation problems Moscow has wide plans of expansion of Moscow Metro.
As Metro stations outside the city center are far apart in comparison to other cities, up to four kilometers, an extensive bus network radiates from each station to the surrounding residential zones. Suburbs and satellite cities also connected by commuter electric rail network. The buses are very frequent, often more than one a minute. Every large street in the city is served by at least one bus route. There are also extensive tram and trolleybus networks.
There are over 2.6 million cars in the city on a daily basis. Recent years have seen explosive growth in the number of cars, which have caused traffic jams and the lack of parking space to become major problems.