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
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
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
(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
(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.
is a center of metallurgy, mechanics and mining
which is situated in the Urals.
the ancient capital of the Tatars, which is
periodically flooded by the Volga. There is big a
watch factory there.
(pop. 420,000) situated
on the White Sea, is a centre for exporting
(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