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Guide for living and working in Moscow
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City Ville Guide

Main towns

Moscow, the capital, was created in 1147 on the banks of the Moskva. It developed progressively around the fortress of the Kremlin, which in 1156 was initially built in wood. In the 14th century it became the capital of the principality of Moscow. The town was periodically burnt down, as all the houses were in wood.

It is nowadays the artistic and cultural centre of Russia, having over 150 cinemas and projection rooms, 30 theatres, 100 concert halls, 150 museums and at least 4000 libraries (the Lenin Library has 22 million editions)

With nearly 15 million inhabitants (the town and its region), Moscow is the financial and commercial centre of Russia. Most of the headquarters of banks and companies are installed in the capital and the average income in Moscow is four times higher than that of the rest of Russia. Crowds shop on the Tverskaia, the Russian 'Champs Elysées' under the watchful eye of the great poet Pouchkine, who occupies the place of honour on the square named after him.

Moscow offers an extravagant architectural cocktail : the metropole lines up in the same perimeter, classical, baroque and socialist realism, churches with golden domes and ugly pink buildings from Stalin's time.

The town developed around the Kremlin ramparts. It still houses the Armury palace, which contains one of the most beautiful collections of diamonds in the world, and the Uspenski cathedral where Czars were crowned and married. Ivan the Terrible got married seven times there. On the square which was baptized 'Red' in the Middle Ages (that means 'pretty'), is the St Basil Cathedral, with its multi-coloured onion-shaped domes and towers. Closing the square, opposite Lenin's mausoleum, the Goum department store sells its wares in a resplendent Russian-Byzantine style of glass and wrought iron bannisters.

Also to visit : the metro stations, which you can visit like a museum, the museum of Russian Art and its collections of icons, the Bolchoi and the Grand Opera House, the Novodievietchy monastery, the Arbat district, the Izmailova market, the Tretiakov gallery ...

Nizhny Novgorod (Gorky), (pop. 1.4 million) built near the lake where the Oka and the Volga rivers meet. It is a major car manufacturing centre, as well as a paper mill centre (Pravdinsk), producing the paper for one of the leading newspapers in the country, the 'Pravda'.

Novosibirsk (pop. 1.4 million), the biggest town in Siberia. It was first built in 1893. Since 1959 it is home to the 'Town of Science', an enormous ensemble for research and scientific studies.

Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) is a center of metallurgy, mechanics and mining which is situated in the Urals.

Kazan, the ancient capital of the Tatars, which is periodically flooded by the Volga. There is big a watch factory there.

Arkangelsk (pop. 420,000) situated on the White Sea, is a centre for exporting timber.

Vladivostok (pop. 645,000), a town on the Pacific coast, is rapidly developing. There is a lot of foreign investment there and it has opened its own stock exchange.

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