History of Moscow

History of Moscow

The oldest evidence of humans on the territory of Moscow dates from the Stone Age (Schukinskaya Neolithic site on the Moscow River). Within the modern bounds of the city other late evidence was discovered (the burial ground of the Fatyanovskaya culture, the site of the early-Stone Age settlement of Dyakovskaya culture, on the territory of Kremlin, Sparrow Hills, Setun River, Kuntsevskiy forest park, etc.

In the end of 1st millennium AD the territory of Moscow and the Moscow Oblast was inhabited by the Slavic tribes of Vyatichi and Krivichi. In the end of 11th century Moscow was a small town with the feudal center and trade suburb situated at the mouth of the Neglinnaya River.

The first reference to Moscow dates from 1147 [CathEncy|wstitle=Moscow] when it was an obscure town in a small province inhabited mostly by Merya, speakers of a now extinct Finnic language. In 1156, Knjaz Yury Dolgoruky built a wooden wall and a moat around the city. After the sacking of 1237-1238, when the Mongol Khanate of the Golden Horde burned the city to the ground and killed its inhabitants.

In 1300 Moscow was ruled by Daniil Aleksandrovich, the son of Alexander Nevsky and a member of the Rurik Dynasty. Its favorable position on the headwaters of the Volga river contributed to steady expansion. Moscow was also stable and prosperous for many years and attracted a large numbers of refugees from across Russia. By 1304, Yury of Moscow contested with Mikhail of Tver for the throne of the principality of Vladimir. Ivan I eventually defeated Tver to become the capital of Vladimir-Suzdal, and the sole collector of taxes for the Mongol rulers. By paying high tribute, Ivan won an important concession from the Khan. Unlike other principalities, Moscow was not divided among his sons but was passed intact to his eldest.

While Khan of the Golden Horde initially attempted to limit Moscow's influence, when the growth of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania began to threaten all of Russia, the Khan strengthened Moscow to counterbalance Lithuania, allowing it to become one of the most powerful cities in Russia. In 1380, prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow led a united Russian army to an important victory over the Mongols in the Battle of Kulikovo. After that, Moscow took the leading role in liberating Russia from Mongol domination. In 1480, Ivan III had finally broken the Russians free from Tatar control and Moscow became the capital of an empire that would eventually encompass all of Russia and Siberia, and parts of many other lands.

In 1571 the Tatars from the Crimean Khanate seized and burned Moscow. From 1610 through 1612, troops of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth occupied Moscow, as its ruler Sigismund III tried to take the Russian throne. In 1611 Moscow suffered a great fire. In 1612, the people of Nizhny Novgorod and other Russian cities conducted by prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin rose against the Polish occupants,besieged the Kremlin and expelled them. In 1613, the Zemsky sobor elected Michael Romanov tsar, establishing the Romanov dynasty.

In 1601 — 1603 the Russian famine of 1601 - 1603 killed perhaps 100,000 in Moscow.

Moscow ceased to be Russia's capital when in 1703 Peter the Great constructed Saint Petersburg on the Baltic coast. When Napoleon invaded in 1812, the Moscovites burned the city and evacuated, as Napoleon's forces were approaching on September 14. Napoleon's army, plagued by hunger, cold, and poor supply lines, was forced to retreat.

In January of 1905, the institution of the City Governor, or Mayor, was officially introduced in Moscow, and Alexander Adrianov became Moscow's first official mayor (current mayor is Yuriy Luzhkov). Following the success of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Lenin, fearing possible foreign invasion, moved the capital from Saint Petersburg back to Moscow on March 5, 1918.In the beginning of 20th century, several strikes and armed risings in Moscow paved the way to the October Revolution. In 1918 the Bolsheviks moved the seat of government from Saint Petersburg back to Moscow. During the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet State Committee of Defense and the General Staff of the Red Army were located in Moscow. In 1941 16 divisions of the national volunteers (more than 160,000 people), 25 battalions (18,000 people) and 4 engineering regiments were formed among the Muscovites. In November 1941, German Army Group Centre was stopped at the outskirts of the city and then driven off in the course of the Battle of Moscow. Many factories were evacuated, together with much of the government, and from October 20 the city was declared to be in a state of siege. Its remaining inhabitants built and manned antitank defenses, while the city was bombarded from the air. On May 1, 1944 a medal "For the defense of Moscow" and in 1947 another medal "In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow" were instituted. On May 8, 1965 due to the actual 20th anniversary of the victory in World War II Moscow was awarded a title of the Hero City. In 1980 it hosted the Summer Olympic Games.

In 1991 Moscow was the scene of a coup attempt by conservators opposed to the liberal reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev. When the USSR was dissolved in the same year, Moscow became a capital of Russia. Since then, the emergence of a market economy in Moscow has produced an explosion of Western-style retailing, services, architecture, and lifestyles.


Growth of Moscow

As with most medieval settlements, early Moscow required fortresses to defend it from invaders such as the Mongols. In 1156, the city's first fortress was built (its foundations were rediscovered in 1960). A trading settlement, or "posad", grew up to the east of the Kremlin, in the area known as "Zaradye" (Зарядье). In the time of Ivan III, the

By 1700, the building of cobbled roads had begun. In November of 1730, the permanent street light was introduced, and by 1867 many streets had a gaslight. In 1883, near the Prechistinskiye Gates, arc lamps were installed. In 1741 Moscow was surrounded by a barricade 25 miles long, the Kamer-Kollezhskiy barrier, with 16 gates at which customs tolls were collected. Its line is traced today by a number of streets called "val" (“ramparts”). Between 1781 – 1804 the Mytischinskiy water-pipe (the first in Russia) was built. In 1813 a Commission for the Construction of the City of Moscow was established. It launched a great program of rebuilding, including a partial replanning of the city-center. Among many buildings constructed or reconstructed at this time were the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Kremlin Armoury, the Moscow University, the Moscow Manege (Riding School), and the Bolshoi Theatre. In 1903 the Moskvoretskaya water-supply had appeared.

The postwar years saw a serious housing crisis, solved by the invention of commieblocks. There are about 13,000 Fact|date=February 2007 of these standardized and prefabricated apartment block, housing the majority of Moscow's population. Apartments were built and partly furnished in the factory before being raised and stacked into tall columns. The popular Soviet-era comic film "Irony of Fate" parodies this soulless construction method. A groom on his way home from his bachelor party passes out at an airport and wakes up in Leningrad, mistakenly sent there by his friend. He gets a taxi to his address, which also exists in Leningrad, and uses his key to open the door. All the furniture and possessions are so standardized that he doesn't realize that this isn't his home, until the real owner returns. The film struck such a chord with Russians, watching on their standard TVs in their standard apartments, that the film is now shown every New Year's Eve.

Historical population

The city's population is rapidly increasing. The ubiquitous presence of legal and illegal permanent and temporary migrants plus merging suburbs raise the total population to about 13.5 mln people. [citation needed]


ee also

*Vsia Moskva


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