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Moscow (/ˈmɒskoʊ/ MOS-koh, US chiefly /ˈmɒskaʊ/ MOS-kow;`{`12`}``{`13`}` Russian: Москва, tr. Moskva, IPA: `{`mɐskˈva`}` ⓘ) is the capital and largest city of Russia. The city stands on the Moskva River in Central Russia, with a population estimated at 13.0 million residents within the city limits,`{`6`}` over 18.8 million residents in the urban area

First documented in 1147, Moscow grew to become a prosperous and powerful city that served as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. When the Tsardom of Russia was proclaimed, Moscow remained the political and economic center for most of its history. Under the reign of Peter the Great, the Russian capital was moved to the newly founded city of Saint Petersburg in 1712, diminishing Moscow’s influence. Following the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the Russian SFSR, the capital was moved back to Moscow in 1918, where it later became the political center of the Soviet Union.[16] In the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Moscow remained the capital city of the newly established Russian Federation.

The northernmost and coldest megacity in the world, Moscow is governed as a federal city,[17] where it serves as the political, economic, cultural, and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe. As an alpha world city,[18] Moscow has one of the world’s largest urban economies.[19] The city is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world,[20] and is one of Europe’s most visited cities. Moscow is home to the sixth-highest number of billionaires of any city in the world.[21] The Moscow International Business Center is one of the largest financial centers in Europe and the world, and features the majority of Europe’s tallest skyscrapers. Moscow was the host city of the 1980 Summer Olympics, and one of the host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[22]

As the historic core of Russia, Moscow serves as the home of numerous Russian artists, scientists, and sports figures due to the presence of its various museums, academic and political institutions, and theaters. The city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is well known for its display of Russian architecture, particularly its historic Red Square, and buildings such as the Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the Moscow Kremlin, of which the latter serves as the seat of power of the Government of Russia. Moscow is home to many Russian companies in numerous industries and is served by a comprehensive transit network, which includes four international airports, ten railway terminals, a tram system, a monorail system, and most notably the Moscow Metro, the busiest metro system in Europe, and one of the largest rapid transit systems in the world. The city has over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, making it one of the greenest cities in the world.[15][23]

Good to Know

Visa Requirements
Visa on Arrival
Languages spoken
Area (km2)
2562 km2


The name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River.[24][25] Several theories of the origin of the name of the river have been proposed. Finno-Ugric Merya and Muroma people, who were among the several pre-Slavic tribes which originally inhabited the area, called the river supposedly Mustajoki, in English: Black river. It has been suggested that the name of the city derives from this term.[26][27]

The most linguistically well-grounded and widely accepted is from the Proto-Balto-Slavic root *mŭzg-/muzg– from the Proto-Indo-European *meu– “wet”,[25][28][29] so the name Moskva might signify a river at a wetland or a marsh.[24] Its cognates include Russianмузгаmuzga “pool, puddle”, Lithuanianmazgoti and Latvianmazgāt “to wash”, Sanskritmájjati “to drown”, Latinmergō “to dip, immerse”.[24][28] In many Slavic countries Moskov is a surname, most common in Russia, BulgariaUkraine and North Macedonia.[30] Additionally, there are similarly named places in Poland like Mozgawa.[24][25][28]