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Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 12.2 million residents within the city limits and 17.1 million within the urban area. Moscow is recognized as a Russian federal city. Moscow is situated on the banks of the Moskva River, which flows for just over 500 km through the East European Plain in central Russia. 49 bridges span the river and its canals within the city's limits. The elevation of Moscow at the All-Russia Exhibition Center, where the leading Moscow weather station is situated, is 156 meters. Belostotskaya highland is the city's highest point at 255 meters. Moscow's architecture is world-renowned. Moscow is the heart of the Russian performing arts, including ballet and film, with 68 museums, 103 theaters, 132 cinemas and 24 concert halls. Moscow is the site of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, with its elegant onion domes, as well as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Seven Sisters. The first Kremlin was built in the middle of the 12th century. The city's appearance had not changed much by the 18th century. Houses were made of pine and spruce logs, with shingled roofs plastered with sod or covered by birch bark. The rebuilding of Moscow in the second half of the 18th century was necessitated not only by constant fires, but also the needs of the nobility. Much of the wooden city was replaced by buildings in the classical style.
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Places to visit in Moscow:
1. Red Square: The heart of Russia’s capital, Red Square is arguably Moscow’s most visited attraction. The cobblestone square is surrounded by architectural stunners and is the place where most of the city’s (and the country’s) history unfolded.
2. State Historical Museum: An attraction, the State Historical Museum, sheltered in a neo-Russian style building, was founded in 1872 by Ivan Zabelin and Aleksey Uvarov. What once was the Principal Medicine Store now houses an impressive collection, which includes relics of prehistoric tribes that once inhabited the territory of present-day Russia, the country’s largest coin collection, as well as 6th-century manuscripts and artworks collected by the Romanov dynasty among other treasures.
3. Arbat Street: An elegant historic street right in the city center, Arbat is one of Moscow’s top touristy spots. With lots of cafés and restaurants, live music performers and caricaturists, as well as souvenir shops and tattoo salons, monuments and a theatre, Arbat draws crowds of visitors every day.
4. VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Centre: The enormous VDNKh (short for All-Russian Exhibition Centre) recently went through an extensive renovation and now looks better than ever. The centre started as the all-Soviet agricultural exhibition in 1935, and now serves as an open-air museum of Soviet architecture. With the iconic fountain at its entrance, the park complex is home to several museums, shopping pavilions, multiple eateries, a massive oceanarium, a zip-line, and a horse-riding rink; in winter there’s a skating rink, largest in Europe.
5. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour: One of Russia’s most visited cathedrals, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a truly remarkable site. The grandiose cathedral was built in 1997 at the place of a 19th-century church of the same name, which in turn was demolished in 1931 by the Soviet authorities. For 50 years the place had been home to the world’s largest outdoor swimming pool, until the country’s new government decided to rebuild the sacred place. Designed similarly to look like its predecessor, the modern building also contains the icon Christ Not Painted by Hand by Sorokin, which miraculously survived the demolition of the original cathedral.
6. Moscow City: Home to Europe’s tallest office building, Moscow City, also referred to as Moscow International Business Center, is one Russia’s most ambitious engineering projects over recent years. With 16 buildings scattered over a surface area of 1,000 hectares, the business district is where you should come for great crowd-free shopping and the best panoramic views of the city.