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Moscow (Russian: Москва, tr. Moskva) is the capital city and the most populous city of the Soviet Union and Russian SFSR. The city is a major political, economic, cultural and scientific center in the USSR and in Eastern Europe. Moscow is 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. Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth, the third most populous city proper in Europe after Istanbul and London and the 8th largest city proper in the world, as well as the largest amongst high income economies. It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe; Mercury City Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Europe; and the Moscow International Business Center. It is the largest city in Russia, with a population of 11,503,501 people. By its territorial expansion on 1 July 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the capital increased its area 2.5 times; from about 1,000 square kilometers (390 sq mi) up to 2,511 square kilometers (970 sq mi), and gained an additional population of 233,000 people.

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 unique architecture which consists of many different 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. 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 modern Soviet Union. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of prestigious Russian artists, scientists and sports figures during the course of its history and because of the presence of many different museums, academic and political institutions and theaters. Moscow is also the seat of power of the Government of the Soviet Union, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence of the Soviet premier. The Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city.

The city is served by an extensive transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railway terminals, numerous trams, a monorail system and one of the deepest underground metro systems in the world, the Moscow Metro, fourth largest in the world and largest outside of Asia in terms of passenger numbers. It is recognized as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich and varied architecture of its 194 stations.

Over time, 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), rendered in English as Muscovite.

Twin cities[]

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