Moscow, which is Russia's largest political, industrial, research and cultural center, is located on the banks of the Moskva River (between the Oka and Volga rivers) and has a population of around 9 million.

Moscow was first mentioned in medieval chronicles in 1147, becoming the seat of an appanage princedom in the thirteenth century. Moscow's prince Ivan Kalita who ruled between 1325 and 1340 became one of the first Russian rulers to start the reunification process. Under Kalita, Russian metropolitans transferred their residence from Vladimir to Moscow, which thus became a political and clerical center, serving as the main force in the Russian reunification process and independence struggle.

Peter the Great moved the Russian capital to St. Petersburg many centuries later, though the people continued to regard Moscow as Russia's heartland. Russian emperors were still being crowned here, with local authorities founding the first national university in 1755 on Mikhail Lomonosov's initiative. In fact, education was free for talented youths of all categories of the population.

The number of enterprises soared dramatically in Moscow after the abolition of serfdom, and was further facilitated by the construction of railroads. At the turn of the century ten railroads linked Moscow to roads continue to operate even today.

Moscow became the capital of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on March 12, 1918 and on December 30, 1922, it became the capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The municipal subway network was commissioned in 1935. The city's seven famous sky-scrapers -- the Foreign Ministry and Railroads Ministry buildings, the Ukraina and Leningradskaya hotels, the Vosstaniya Square and Kotelnicheskaya Embankment highrise apartment buildings, and Moscow University -were completed in the 1950s and the 1960s. As a result, the Moscow skyline was changed completely. The Luzhniki stadium sprang up in the 1956. It hosted the 22nd Olympic Games. The Ostankino TV tower, as well as the "corridor" of high-rise buildings which constitute the Novy Arbat Avenue, were erected in the 1960s.

Moscow's ZIL and AZLK auto works produce cars and trucks. The city's Krasny Proletary factory manufactures a wide array of machine-tools, while the Dynamo and Manometer factories produce electrical gadgets and instruments. Moscow also boasts the Serp i Molot Metallurgical Works and has a well-developed chemical industry, which is centered at its Kauchuk and Krasny Bogatyr factories, as well as impressive textile (the Trekhgornaya Manufaktura factory) and food industries, etc.

The Russian Academy of Sciences, nearly 77 colleges, 44 professional theaters, Russia's largest state library and 68 museums (roughly 20 per cent of all national state-run museums) are also located in Moscow.

The city is Russia's capital and the seat of its President, parliament and government.