Moscow is the capital of Russia and its commercial and cultural centre. It is the northernmost megacity of the Earth and is the fifth largest city in the world. Moscow occupies an area of 2,511 sq km and had an approximate population of 11,503,501 in 2010.
Moscow lies on the East European platform. This is a very stable area made up of continental basement rocks. Limestone, silt, clay and sand make up the depression on which the city is located. Moscow lies on the banks of the Moskva River that flows for 500 kms through the East European plains of which 80 kms run through the city itself. 49 bridges have been constructed over the river. The region had experienced glacial activities in the past and the signs can still be seen in certain geographical features. The highest point of the city lies at an elevation of 255 meters.
Moscow enjoys a humid continental climate. Summers are warm while winters are very cold. Heat waves are common between May and September. Rain falls in summer while the winter months from November to mid-March are covered with snow.
How to reach (transport)
Moscow is a very well connected city. You can reach it in the following ways:
- The city is served by three main airports. The Sheremetyevo International airport lies to the north of the city. The Domodedovo International airport is located south of the city centre and is currently the largest airport in Moscow. The Vnukovo International Airport lies on the southwest of the city and is another busy airport. In addition, there is the Ostafyevo International Airport to the south of Moscow and it mostly caters to business traffic. The city has air linkages to all the continents and major cities of the world.
- You can travel to Moscow by train from any part of Russia because it is the railway hub of the country. Trains from Europe, Eastern Russia, Petersburg and Asia come to the city. There are nine train stations in Moscow catering to both local and long distance trains.
- The major highways that lead to Moscow include the E30 from Germany, Poland and Belarus and the E22 from Riga and Latvia. The E18 runs from Finland through St. Petersburg. You can either hire a car or travel on one of the several intercity buses that travel from Moscow.
Since the temperature is most comfortable in summer, this is the high tourist season. However, the most attractive events and festivals occur in winter. If you can protect yourself from the cold, winter may be a better time to visit Moscow.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions
Several events are celebrated in Moscow throughout the year. Some of them are as follows:
- The Russian orthodox Christmas is celebrated with much merriment on 7th January.
- The Maslenitsa Festival is held for a week in February with carnival fun, fireworks, music, dancing and food.
- The St Patrick’s parade is an Irish themed festival on 17th May.
- The Red Hill holiday is celebrated on the Sunday following Easter to welcome spring.
- The International Moscow Film Festival is held in June or July with screenings from around the world.
- The International folklore festival is celebrated from August to December. Folk music performances are held in various parks and gardens.
- The Moscow International book fair is held throughout September and is a mega event.
- The City Day celebrates the founding of the city with street parades, parties and festivities.
- The Autumn Festival and the International festival of Poets are celebrated in October and are very popular.
- The Christmas and the Winter carnival are celebrated with a number of events throughout the month of December.
Points of interest (places to visit)
There are several important sights in Moscow. Some of them are:
- The Red Square is the starting point of any tour of Moscow. It is surrounded by St. Basil's Cathedral, the State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum and one of the Kremlin's long brick walls. The Lenin Mausoleum lies at the centre with the tomb of Lenin.
- The Kremlin with its stunning churches, the diamond collection and the beautiful gardens is another important landmark.
- The Tretyakov Gallery is one of the richest museums of the city and contains a fabulous collection of Russian icons.
- The Pushkin museum contains western art from the impressionist and post impressionist era.
- The Gorky Park is the trendiest and the best-known park in the city.
- Christ the Saviour cathedral is the tallest orthodox cathedral in the world and has an extensive museum.
Moscow offers a wide range of accommodation. The five star hotels are plenty including Golden Apple, Metropole, National, Ritz Carlton, Savoy, and Radisson, while the four star hotels include Korston, Peking, Katerina, Budapest, and Kebur Palace. The three star hotels include Warsaw, Belgrad, Oksana, Altay, and Cosmos. Budget hotels are also plentiful in the city.
Last Updated : February 26, 2015