The New Student's Reference Work/Moscow


Moscow (mŏs′ kṓ), a city of Russia and its capital, is situated in the center of European Russia on Moskva River, 403 miles southeast of St. Petersburg.  It covers 40 square miles.  The Kremlin (citadel), in the center, is an inclosed space surrounded by walls with 18 towers and is the most sacred spot in the Russian empire.  All who enter by the Savior gate must bow to the image of the Savior that stands above it.  Inside the walls are three cathedrals, many churches and monasteries, the great tower, four palaces, an arsenal and the hall of the synod, with a fine library.  The tower, built in 1600, is 270 feet high, commands a magnificent view of the city, and at its foot is the bell called King of Bells.  Before the arsenal is a pile of 800 or 900 French cannon, the trophy of 1812.  Outside of the Kremlin are the Cathedral of St. Basil (1554), the historical museum, the great bazar, the university, founded in 1755, with a library of 200,000 volumes and 4,497 students, and a public museum with fine collections, a picture-gallery and a library numbering over 300,000 volumes.  Moscow is the busiest city in Russia except St. Petersburg, and has numerous manufactures of cotton, silk and woolen goods, leather, tobacco, candles, carriages, pottery and matches.  Its situation in the center of European Russia, between the Baltic and the Black Sea, makes it a great commercial market, and it carries on an extensive trade in grain, timber, furs, hides, tallow, tea, sugar and mineral products.

Moscow was first occupied by the Finns, and settled by the Russians in the 12th century.  The Mongols sacked the town in 1237 and 1293, but by the 14th century it had become firmly established, and in 1325 became the seat of the church officers for central Russia.  The Kremlin was built in 1300 and was walled in 1367.  Moscow continued growing in influence and power, and in 1462 its prince, Ivan III, took the title of czar of Russia. In 1547 it was burned down; in 1571 it was taken and burned by the khan of the Crimea; and it suffered from the Mongols in 1591.  St. Petersburg was made the capital by Peter the Great in 1713, but the old families and the peasantry still consider the holy city of Moscow as the real capital.  The city suffered from fires again in 1739, 1748, 1753, and was finally, in 1812, set on fire and burned by its own citizens to save it from being taken by Napoleon.  Since then it has been largely rebuilt.  Population 1,468,563.