This article is about the capital of Russia. For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation).
Москва (Russian)
—   Federal city  —

Clockwise from top left: Cathedral of Christ the Saviour; Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin; MIBC; Red Square; Bolshoi Theatre; and Moscow State University.


Coat of arms
Anthem: My Moscow
Coordinates: 55°45′N 37°37′E / 55.750°N 37.617°E / 55°45′N 37°37′E / 55.750; 37.617
Political status
Country Russia
Federal district Central [1]
Economic region Central [2]
Established Before 1147 [3]
Federal city Day The second weekend of September [4]
Government (as of July 2014)
 •  Mayor [5] Sergey Sobyanin ( UR) [5]
 • Legislature City Duma [6]
Area  [7]
 • Total 2,511 km2 (970 sq mi)
Area rank 83rd
Population (2015 est.)
 • Total 12,197,596 ( permanent residents within city limits)
14,300,000 (estimated total within city limits)
16,900,000 ( Urban Area)
Combined population of Moscow Federal City and Moscow Oblast is 19,561,194 [8] [9]
Time zone(s) MSK ( UTC+03:00) [10]
ISO 3166-2 RU-MOW
License plates 77, 177, 777; 97, 197, 797; 99, 199, 799
Official languages Russian [11]
Official website
Historic city centre

Moscow ( /ˈmɒsk/, /ˈmɒsk/ or /ˈmɒskɒv/; [12] Russian: Москва́, tr. Moskva; IPA:  [mɐˈskva]) is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 12.2 million residents within the city limits and 16.8 million within the urban area. Moscow has the status of a Russian federal city.

Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city entirely on the European continent. By broader definitions Moscow is among the world's largest cities, being the 14th largest metro area, the 18th largest agglomeration, the 15th largest urban area, and the 11th largest by population within city limits worldwide. According to Forbes 2013, [13] Moscow has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and has one of the world's largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and is also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth. It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe; the Federation Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Europe; and the Moscow International Business Center. By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the area of the capital more than doubled, going from 1,091 to 2,511 square kilometers (421 to 970 sq mi), and it gained an additional population of 233,000 people. [14] [15]

Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, making it the world's most populated inland city. The city is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012.

The city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of Russian artists, scientists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums, academic and political institutions and theaters.

Moscow is the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence for work of the President of Russia. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in the city.

The city is served by a transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railway terminals, numerous trams, a monorail system and one of the deepest underground rapid transit systems in the world, the Moscow Metro, the fourth-largest in the world and largest outside of Asia in terms of passenger numbers, and the busiest in Europe. It is recognized as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich architecture of its 200 stations.

Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), The Whitestone One (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков), and The Hero City (город-герой). In old Russian the word "Сорок" (forty) also meant a church administrative district, which consisted of about forty churches. The demonym for a Moscow resident is "москвич" (moskvich) for male or "москвичка" (moskvichka) for female, rendered in English as Muscovite.


The name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River. [16] [17] There have been proposed several theories of the origin of the name of the river. The most linguistically well-grounded and widely accepted is from the Proto-Balto-Slavic root *mŭzg-/muzg- from the Proto-Indo-European *meu- "wet", [17] [18] [19] so the name Moskva might signify a river at a wetland or a marsh. [16] Its cognates include Russian: музга, muzga "pool, puddle", Lithuanian: mazgoti and Latvian: mazgāt "to wash", Sanskrit: majjati "to drown", Latin: mergō "to dip, immerse". [16] [18] There exist as well similar place names in Poland like Mozgawa. [16] [17] [18]

The original Old Russian form of the name is reconstructed as *Москы, *Mosky, [16] [17] hence it was one of a few Slavic ū-stem nouns. As with other nouns of that declension, it had been undergoing a morphological transformation at the early stage of the development of the language, as a result the first written mentions in the 12th century were Московь, Moskovĭ ( accusative case), Москви, Moskvi ( locative case), Москвe/Москвѣ, Moskve/Moskvě ( genitive case). [16] [17] From the latter forms came the modern Russian name Москва, Moskva, which is a result of morphological generalization with the numerous Slavic ā-stem nouns.

However, the form Moskovĭ has left some traces in many other languages, such as English: Moscow, German: Moskau, French: Moscou, Latvian: Maskava, Ottoman Turkish: Moskov‎, Tatar: Мәскәү, Mäskäw, Kazakh: Мәскеу, Mäskew, Chuvash: Мускав, Muskav, etc. In a similar manner the Latin name Moscovia has been formed, later it became a colloquial name for Russia used in Western Europe in the 16th–17th centuries. From it as well came English Muscovy.

Various other theories (of Celtic, Iranian, Caucasic, Finno-Ugrian origin), having little or no scientific ground, are now largely rejected by contemporary linguists. [16] [17]

There has been as well a naïve scholastic etymology that connected the name of Mosoch, a son of Japheth, with the name of the city, so that it was thought that the biblical figure was a forefather of Russians as well as other Slavs. The surface similarity of the name Russia with Rosh, an obscure biblical tribe or country, which is mentioned alongside with Mosoch in Ezekiel (38:2–3, 39:1), strengthened up such etymologies. [20]