Moscow is the capital of the Russian Federation; the administrative center of the Central Federal District and Moscow Region. Administratively, it is not included into Moscow Region.
Moscow is the smallest subject of the Russian Federation — 1081 km² in area. The population of the city is above 10,5 mln residents which makes it the biggest megacity of Russia and Europe. Moscow and Krasnogorsk, Moscow Region are the seats of all the state bodies of Russia. According to international standard, Moscow is located the so-called Moscow Time Zone.
The city’s climate is moderately continental. Average temperature in January is −8°C, in July — +19°C.
The first authentic reference of Moscow found in Ipatiev scripts dates back to April 4, 1147 which became the formal date of the city’s foundation. At that time, Moscow was a frontier estate of Rostov and Suzdal princes. In 1156, Prince Yuri Dolgoruky ordered to build a wooden fortress around the small settlement. On the edge of the 12 — 13th centuries, in spite of turf wars breaking out between Russian princes, Moscow became rather noticeable among other towns of North-Eastern Russia, and in the 13th century it becomes the center of the princedom. In 1426, Moscow rose to the level of the capital of Russia and even in 1712 when the capital was moved to newly-built St.-Petersburg, Moscow remained the place of coronation of Russian emperors. The capital status returned to Moscow in the Soviet era, in 1922.
The main attraction of Moscow still remains the ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square — a unique complex of architectural monuments. In addition to the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoe and New-Maiden Convent, the Moscow Kremlin is included into the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites. There is a number of excursions held in the Kremlin which familiarize tourists with the architectural ensemble as well as the treasures of the Armory Chamber, old Kremlin cathedrals, historic necropolis, collections of ancient icons and so forth. On Saturdays from April to October, the President’s Regiment demonstrates the ceremony of cavalry and foot-borne guard mounting in the Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin.
The State Historic Museum located in Red Square holds numerous exhibitions often combined with theatrical performances with interactive participation of guests. The museum includes the following branches: New-Maiden Convent, Intercession Cathedral (St.-Basil’s Cathedral), the Trinity Church in Nikitniki, Zaryadie Chambers of the XVI–XVII centuries, the Lenin Museum, Izmailovo and Krutitskoe Podvorie ensembles.
In total, there are 450 museums in the city. Fine art lovers will be attracted by the State Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery, Tretyakov Gallery at Krymsky Val and etc. Those who are interested in natural sciences, take an opportunity to visit the State Darwin Museum, the State Timiryazev Biological Museum and Orlov Paleontological Museum. Fun time with jokes and spoofs is guaranteed at Baron Munchausen Museums, and exciting tours around the State Polytechnic Museum would be interesting for everyone. Each museum offers excursion programs for both for adults and children.
In addition to indoor museums, Moscow possesses unique architectural, artistic and landscape cultural and educational facilities in the open air — Tsarytsyno and Kolomenskoe. Nature lovers are invited to take a walk in Tsytsyn Botanic Garden containing a priceless collection of plants and children may enjoy a day in the Moscow Zoo with over 960 fauna species from all over the world.
In addition to museums, the historic part of Moscow itself (the territories within Kamer-Kollezhsky Wall erected in 1742) is no less interesting.
Those who are tired from urban bustle may take a rest at numerous parks of Moscow — the Central Gorky Park, Nesckuchny Sad, Izmailovsky, Kuzminsky or Moskvoretsky parks; or take a riverboat tour along the Moscow River.
Apart from city tours, there is an option to take a longer river voyage to Moscow leisure areas, such as Joy Bay (northern shores of Klyazma Water Reserve), Pine-tree Forest — (the central recreation area at the Moscow Channel, to the north of Pestovskoe water reserve), Gorki and Dzerzhinsky areas. A comfortable ship may take you on a pilgrimage tour from Kolomenskoe to St-Nicolas Ugreshsky Monastery or over the Golden Ring of Moscow.
Every day, 43 theatres open their doors to theatre-goers in Moscow. The best-known are the Bolshoi Theatre, the Lenkom, the Chekhov Artistic Theatre, the Moscow Operetta Theatre and many others. Excellent concerts are held in the Moscow State Chaikovsky Conservatory, the Moscow International Music House, the Glinka Musical Culture Museum, the House of Composers and etc.
Moscow is especially beautiful during the City Day (traditionally held on the first September weekend). Moscow always participates in International Museums Day — on May 18 all municipal museums are open for visitors free of charge.