Facts about Moscow

Some interesting facts about Moscow

From the day of establishment of Moscow and to nowadays there spread a lot of legends and interesting stories connected with this wonderful city. Day by day we are getting to know more and more about it, adding more interesting facts to our casket of knowledge.

According to the opinion of most historians and researchers, Moscow gained its name due to the name of a river flowing nearby. There are two versions explaining the origins of this name “Moscow” (Moscwa in Russian). The supporters of the first version suspect this word to come from Finns, because Finnish tribes used to live on the benches of the Moscow-river long ago.According to this version “Mosc” is translated as bear and “Wa” as water. Those people who believe in the second version consider this name to come from the ancient Slavs and that “Moscow” means wet and dampness in their language.

The names of streets and squares were not given occasionally. For example, the Kremlin gates were named “Borovitskie” because there was a real pinery around the fortress wall, and pinery in for Russian is “bor”. A similar thing happened with the names of streets Mokhovaya and Bolotnaya – “moh” means moss in Russian, and “boloto” is swamp.

The forefathers of modern Moscow inhabitants used to be engaged in different kinds of crafts – they produced iron and products of wood and clay, worked as skinners and furriers. Most of them had a personal kitchen-garden.

To tell the truth since the beginning of time there were human settlements on the very place where Moscow is situated now. As a result of archeological excavations there were discovered various instruments made of wood and bone that proved the existence of ancient people engaged in hunting and fishing on this area many centuries ago. And the researchers suspect there was a settlement of cattlemen situated near the place where the river of Neglinnaya meets the Moscow-river.

Dozens of various rivers flow across the city territory and surroundings. Large rivers are tributaries of the Moscow-river, their names are: Yauza, Neglinnaya, Shodnya, Kotlovka, Hodynka, Setun. A lot of them were hidden into the system of urban sewerage nowadays.

Moscow is surrounded by forests all around the city. And there are also some wonderful parks inside it, the most wide-known of them are called Temiryazevsky, Izmailovsky, Nescuchnuy Sad (Amusing Gargen in for English) and Botanicheskiy Sad (Botanical Garden) with its unique collection of plants. In the Eastern part of Moscow the Natural national park of Moose Island (Losiny Ostrov) is situated.

Every traveler coming to Moscow and looking at its sightseeing is inspired by golden look of the churches' cupolas and is imbued with a unique atmosphere of Russian capital. Of cause, every tourist wants to bring home an unusual souvenir in memory of Moscow. So what can he choose?Modern range of souvenirs is the same as it was many years ago – that is Matrioshka, the Russian “visiting card”, and the first purchase of a foreigner who is afraid of Russian frost, - hat with ear-flaps. Souvenirs of crafts are more interesting, you can choose famous Gzhel dishes painted with blue and white flowers.

Also caskets of Palekh-painting, Hohloma-painting and downy shawls of Orenburg are in demand. In Moscow you can find the best production of masters from all over Russia. But where can you purchase a souvenir that will always make you breathe the Moscow air with a single look at it?

The “GoldTurtle” company offers you to keep your impressions with the help of a unique material handcrafted by ancient Russian masters – so-called “leaf gold”. In the series of our souvenirs called “Moscow” you can find the most famous and adorable Moscow views. This series contains souvenirs produced with leaf gold of highest quality that is laid onto the specially prepared copies of engravings by masters of the XIX century. Every picture of this series transmits this unique sheen of Moscow cupolas and is the best Moscow souvenir for every traveler.

The Moscow-City is a modern transport, traffic center. Every day more than 12 million of people use buses, trolley-buses, trams and subway. The length of tracks of Moscow subway is 278 km. It contains 12 lines including about 172 stations and construction of new lines and stations is always in process. Most of the subway stations are underground, but, however, there are some on-ground and 5 above-ground stations. The shortest way is between the Delovoy Center (Business Center) and the Mezhdunarodnaya (International) stations, and the longest is between the Volgogradskiy prospect (Pr. of Volgograd) and the Tekstilshiki (Textile) stations.

A legend exists that says there is a secret subway line in Moscow constructed to connect the Kremlin and some other institutions with underground bunkers to keep the first people of our government if something dangerous happens. But there are no credible evidences for this tale.

Moscow has a coat of arms, flag and hymn of its own. St. George the Winner is depicted on the coat of arms – he is cutting a mythological snake through and this action symbolizes the victory over all the enemies of Moscow. The hymn of the city is based on the song called “My Moscow” (music by I.O. Dunaevskiy, verses by M.S. Lisyanskiy and S.I. Agranyan).

Moscow Red Square

The Moscow-city plays a great role as a scientific and cultural center. The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) situated here includes 90 branches and 78 research centers. Besides RAS there are a lot of scientific academies in Moscow. The city is also famous for its museums and art galleries, the collections of Tretyakovskaya Gallery and the Pushkin Museum are known all over the world on a par with the most wide-known collections. There are also 109 cinemas, 31 concert halls, 142 exhibition centers, 78 museums and 72 theaters in Moscow.

The other legend says that the famous treasures of Templar are locatedin Moscow. According to this legend the treasures were secretly brought from Paris during the defeat of this organization. We can found some traces of Templar in Moscow on the walls of St. Danilov's monastery. One part of the above-gates church of this monastery is decorated with fretwork fragments in the shape of Templar’s coat of arms – a six-petal rose surrounded with white square frame with 4 circles at each corner of the square.

One of the most mystical places in Moscow is Tsaritsino. Before the Russian tsar’s manor was built there that place had been known as “Black Dirt” and had been considered to be “not good”. Since ancient times a kind of cruel fate persecuted its inhabitants, as if the manor was trying to get rid of its owners.

The two most famous in the world emeralds are kept in Moscow Emerald fund. One of them is named “Shah” and its weight is 88 carat. There are inscriptions placed on the stone telling about its former owners. In 1829 it was presented to Nicolas the 1st by the shah of Teheran as a sign of reconciliation after destroying of Russian embassy and murder of diplomat and poet A.S. Grioedov. The emerald called “Orlov” is the largest one in the collection of Emerald fund. Probably it was found in India as a part of Buda’s eye. Later it was purchased by count Orlov as a present for Russian empress Katherine the 2nd.

There are some other interesting facts about Moscow:

  • Windows made of glass appeared in houses of Moscow boyars only in the XVI century, they had been using fish bladder or mica instead of glass earlier.
  • In the XV-XVI centuries Moscow inhabitants used to produce skates of animal bones.
  • There is a tram racing around the district called Chistye Prudy (Clear Lakes) for about 15 years yet. A café “Annushka” is situated there (this is connected with the scene of a poem by famous Russian writer Bulgakov “Master and Margarita”).
  • Moscow Lenin library is the largest in Europe.
  • On the 29th of 1904 a strong tornado rushed the Moscow-city. It collapsed several villages on its way, broke apart some century-old trees in Sokolniki and destroyed houses in Lefortovo, while walking along the Moscow-river the tornado took the water up and exposed the bottom.
  • The huge oaks in Kolomenskoe are more than 700 years old and they are the oldest trees in the city.
  • The famous Pushkin memorial on the Tverskaya St. used to be situated on the opposite side of this street, and its present location is about 50 years only.
  • The most expensive street in Moscow is Tretyakovskiy proezd - the most famous boutiques are placed here.
  • First water conduit appeared in Moscow in 1804, and the sewerage system was constructed in 1898. The Moscowtelegraph began its work in 1872, and the townspeople began to receive calls in 1882. The first elevator in Moscow was built in 1901.
  • About 2 tons of emissions and pollutants per minute is emitting to the atmosphere of modern Moscow.
  • On the 1st of December 2008 there was set a record – 496 beautifully decorated by hundreds of designers fir-trees embellished New Year's Moscow.
  • There are 12 famous ghosts in Moscow (and hundreds of not so wide-known). The Black Monk, Beria's limousine and Hippo Cat from “Master and Margarita” are among them.
  • The museum of Water is considered to be the most unusual museum in Moscow.
  • The most unusual benches in Moscow you can find in the garden of Art-museon, near the Central house of artists. There you can sit on a palette-bench, bench called “cereal grain” or a bench-centipede.

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