Moscow is the capital of Russia, located in the central zone of the Great Russian Plain. It is one of the biggest megalopolises in the world, with a population exceeding ten million people. Moscow is a major intellectual, cultural and financial centre of the Russian Federation.
Moscow can be considered a very old city; it is generally believed that the first mention of Moscow was in a collection of chronicles in 1147, when Prince Yuri Dolgoruki established the first small outpost on the banks of the Moscow river. The settlement grew up into a large and prosperous town, which eventually became the capital of the principality Moscow. By the 15th century Moscow was Russia's political, cultural and trade center, and during the reign of Ivan the Great it became the capital of Russia as well.
In 1712 Peter the Great ordered that his imperial capital be moved from Moscow to St. Petersburg, but Moscow remained the heart of Russia - a symbol of national pride that continued to play a major role in Russia. Consequently, it became the main target of Napoleon's assault in 1812, where three quarters of the city was destroyed. However, by the middle of the 19thy century, Moscow was completely rebuilt, once again consecrating its stature.
In 1918, Moscow became the official capital once again.
It is well renowned for its old and ornate cathedrals, churches and monasteries, dating from the 15th to 17th centuries. Before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Moscow had 350 churches, but many of them were destroyed after the Revolution.
Moscow is famed for its rich cultural life. There are more than 60 officially registered theatres, with the famous Bolshoi Theatre and with new ones sprouting up all the time.
Present day Moscow is home to the Russian government. The President of Russia lives and works here, while it is also the representative of major international and local banks and companies; enterprises; and recognised for its outstanding educational and cultural institutions.
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