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Moscow - Russia
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Moscow (Russian: Москва́) is the capital and the most populous city of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation center of Russia and of the continent. Moscow is the most northern city on Earth with a population above 10,000,000, the most populous city on the continent of Europe, and the sixth largest city in the world. Its population, according to the preliminary results of the 2010 census, is 11,514,300. Based on Forbes 2011, Moscow had 79 billionaires, displacing New York as the city with the greatest number of billionaires. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia. In the course of its history 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 Soviet Union. Moscow is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, an ancient fortress that is today the residence of the Russian President and of the executive branch of the Government of Russia. The Kremlin is 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 Moscow.

There is a vibrant night life in Moscow with the major, and one of the most popular nightlife areas being around Tverskaya Street. The southern part of Tverskaya Street near the Manege Square and the Red Square area is known as an area with many expensive, luxurious bars and restaurants, and is considered to be a playground for new elite class of Russians and celebrities. Tverskaya Street is also one of the busiest shopping streets in Moscow. The adjoining Tretyakovsky Proyezd, also south of Tverskaya Street, in Kitai-gorod, is host to upscale boutique stores such as Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., Armani, Prada and Bentley. Nightlife in Moscow has moved on since Soviet times and the city today has many of the world's largest nightclubs.

Moscow has always been a popular destination for tourists. Some of the better known attractions include the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, which was built between the 14th and 17th centuries. The Church of the Ascension at Kolomenskoye, which dates from the year 1532, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and another popular attraction. Near the new Tretyakov Gallery there is a sculpture garden called the graveyard of fallen monuments that displays statues of the former Soviet Union that were removed from their place after its dissolution. Other popular attractions include the Moscow Zoo, a zoological garden of nearly a thousand species and more than 6,500 specimens. Each year, the zoo attracts more than 1.2 million visitors. The long days encountered at the northern latitude of Moscow will also afford visitors more time to cover the immense wealth of historical, cultural and other popular sites in Moscow. Many of Moscow's parks and landscaped gardens are protected natural environments.

The city is served by an extensive transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railroad terminals, and the Moscow Metro, second only to Tokyo in terms of ridership and recognised as one of the landmarks of Moscow due to the rich and varied architecture of its 182 stations. Over time, Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome (Russian: Третий Рим), Whitestone (Russian: Белокаменная), The First Throne (Russian: Первопрестольная) and The Forty Forties (Russian: Сорок Сороков).

There are five primary commercial airports serving Moscow: Sheremetyevo International Airport, Domodedovo International Airport, Bykovo Airport, Ostafyevo International Airport and Vnukovo International Airport. Sheremetyevo International Airport is the most common entry point for foreign passengers, handling sixty percent of all international flights. Domodedovo International Airport is the leading airport in Russia in terms of passenger throughput, and is the primary gateway for long-haul domestic and CIS destinations and its international traffic rivals Sheremetyevo's. The three other airports particularly offer flights within Russia and to and from states from the former Soviet Union. Moscow's airports vary in distances from MKAD beltway: Bykovo is the farthest at 35 kilometres or 21 miles; Domodedovo is next at 22 kilometres (13.7 mi); Vnukovo is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi); Sheremetyevo is 10 kilometers (6.25 mi); and Ostafievo, the nearest, is about 8 kilometers or 5 miles from MKAD. There are also several smaller airports near Moscow, such as Myachkovo Airport, intended for private aircraft, helicopters and charters.

Moscow also has two river transportation passenger terminals which are South River Terminal and North River Terminal or Rechnoy vokzal, on the river and regular ship routes and cruises along Moskva and Oka rivers, which are used mostly for entertainment. The North River Terminal, built in 1937, is also the main hub for long-range river routes. There are also three freight ports serving Moscow. The high-speed Sapsan train links Moscow with Saint Petersburg with Moscow employing several train stations to serve the city. Moscow's nine rail terminals (Russian: vokzals) are:

  • Belorussky Rail Terminal
  • Kazansky Rail Terminal
  • Kiyevsky Rail Terminal
  • Kursky Rail Terminal
  • Leningradsky Rail Terminal
  • Paveletsky Rail Terminal
  • Rizhsky Rail Terminal
  • Savyolovsky Rail Terminal
  • Yaroslavsky Rail Terminal

They are located close to the city center, but each handles trains from different parts of Europe and Asia. There are also many smaller railway stations in Moscow. As train tickets are relatively cheap, trains are the transportation mode of preference for travelling Russians, especially when departing to Saint Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city. Moscow is also the western terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which traverses nearly 9,300 kilometers or 5,800 miles of Russian territory to Vladivostok on the Pacific coast. Suburbs and satellite cities are also connected by a commuter electric rail network (Russian: elektrichka). Elektrichkas depart from each of these terminals to the nearby large railway stations. Local transport includes the Moscow Metro, a metro system famous for its art, murals, mosaics, and ornate chandeliers. When it first opened in 1935, the system had just two lines. Today, the Moscow Metro contains twelve lines, mostly underground with a total of 182 stations.

The Metro is one of the deepest subway systems in the world; for instance the Park Pobedy station, completed in 2003, lies at 84 meters or 276 feet underground, has the longest escalators in Europe. The Moscow Metro is one of the world's busiest metro systems, serving more than nine million passengers daily. Facing serious transportation problems, Moscow has extensive plans for expanding the Moscow Metro. As Metro stations outside the city center are far apart in comparison to other cities, up to 4 kilometres or 2.5 miles, an extensive bus network radiates from each station to the surrounding residential zones. Moscow also has a bus terminal for long-range and intercity passenger buses (Central Bus Terminal) with daily turnover of about 25 thousand passengers serving about 40% of long-range bus routes in Moscow. Every major street in the city is served by at least one bus route. Many of these routes are doubled by a trolleybus routes and have trolley wires over them.

There is also a short monorail line operated by the Moscow Metro company called the Moscow Monorail. The line connects Timiryazevskaya Metro station and Sergeya Eisensteina Street, passing close to VVTs. Moscow also has an extensive tram system, which first opened in 1899. The newest line was built in 1984. Its daily usage by Muscovites is low, at only approximately 5% of trips, because many vital connections in the network have been withdrawn. Trams still remain important in some districts as feeders to Metro stations. The trams also provide important cross links between metro lines.

In Russia and in Moscow, the difference between hailing a cab and simply hitchhiking is questionable. There is an old Russian tradition for drivers to offer rides to strangers for a fee. Generally, wherever you are, at any time of day or night, you can get a 'cab' in a matter of minutes or seconds by holding out your hand and chances are someone will stop. Regular commercial taxi services are also available. In addition, route taxis are also in widespread use. There are over 2.6 million cars in the city on a daily basis. Recent years have seen the growth in the number of cars, which have caused traffic jams and the lack of parking spaces has become a major problem. The MKAD, along with the Third Transport Ring and the future Fourth Transport Ring, is one of only three freeways that run within Moscow city limits. However, as one can easily observe from a map of Moscow area, there are several other roadway systems that form concentric circles around the city.

The Moscow International Business Center (Moscow-City) is a projected new part of central Moscow. Geographically situated in Presnensky District, located at the Third Ring, the Moscow-City area is under intense development. The goal of MIBC "Moscow-City" is to create a zone, the first in Russia, and in all of Eastern Europe, that will combine business activity, living space and entertainment facilities. It will be a city within a city. The project was conceived by the Moscow government in 1992. The construction of MIBC "Moscow-City" is taking place on the Krasnopresnenskaya embankment. The whole project takes up 1 square kilometer or 247 acres. This area is the only spot in downtown Moscow that can accommodate a project of this magnitude. Today, most of the buildings already located there are old factories and industrial complexes. The Federation Tower, now being built and to be completed in 2016, will become the tallest building in Europe when finished.

Also to be included in the project are a waterpark and other recreational facilities; trade and entertainment complexes, numerous prestigious office and residential buildings, the transport node and the new site of the Moscow government. The construction of four new metro stations in the territory has already been completed, of which two have already opened and two others are reserved for future metro lines crossing MIBC, some additional stations were planned. A rail shuttle service, directly connecting MIBC with the Sheremetyevo International Airport is also planned. Major thoroughfares through Moscow-City are the Third Ring and Kutuzovsky Prospekt. Three metro stations were initially planned for the Filyovskaya Line. The station Delovoi Tsentr opened in 2005, and was later renamed "Vystavochnaya" in 2009. The branch extended to the Mezhdunarodnaya station in 2006, and all work on third station, Dorogomilovskaya (between Kiyevskaya and Delovoi Tsentr), has been postponed.

It was recently announced that there are plans to extend the branch as far as the Savyolovskaya station, on the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line. A Fourth Ring freeway (in addition to Moscow Automobile Ring Road, Garden Ring and the Third Ring) has been designed and is being built around Moscow. It is to be completed by 2012 and will have total length of 61 kilometers or 38 miles. A rail connection linking the international airports at Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo with downtown terminals is also planned. In March 2009 the Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported that because of the Worldwide Economic Crisis, which started in 2008 and spread globally, many of the construction projects in Moscow - especially in the Moscow International Business Center are frozen and may be cancelled altogether. Many of yesterday's monstrous development groups are now in a near-bankrupt state like Mirax Group or AFI Development.

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