Moscow is by far the largest city in Europe. If Moscow were a country, it would rank as Europe’s eleventh-largest with its population of more than 12 million. A total of 20 million people live in the metropolitan area. Apart from its sheer size and its political significance as Russia’s capital, Moscow is a city that alternates between long-standing tradition and ultramodern appeal at a rapid pace.

LocationPopulationMetro area populationAreaDensity
Western Russia12,506,00020,000,0002511 km²4583 / km²

In many aspects, Moscow is Russia’s political, cultural and economic hub. It is also a city with dozens of attractions and places worth visiting. Among these, the world-famous onion domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral are a major draw and so is the Kremlin with its walls and towers and the Red Square, which is being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to these, numerous churches and other notable buildings are popular photo spots. Moscow boasts a large number of public parks and gardens, the most famous of which is probably Gorky Park along the Moskva river.

Moscow’s history dates back to the year 1147, when the town’s name was first mentioned in an official document. After growing slowly but steadily, it became the capital of the grand duchy of Vladimir in 1303. This marked the beginning of Moscow’s rise, both in size and in importance, which never really stopped in the next centuries. By 1500, it had 100,000 residents and there were over 1,5 million by 1900. The name of the city is associated with a long list of big names, from Ivan I and Catherine the Great to Lenin, Gorbachev and Putin, all of whom have left their marks in the fabrics of a truly global city.

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