Moscow is not only the capital and the largest city of Russia. A lot of significant events in a history of our country are connected with this city. Many centuries ago it was a unification of Russian lands around this small at those times town that became the beginning of Russian state’s formation. During several centuries Moscow - the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square - are the symbols of Russia.
How did a name «Moscow» appear? Nowadays it is difficult to answer this question exactly, but historians offer some hypotheses in this occasion. Researchers consider that it has appeared from an old slavic word "moek" - «firestone» and a root -kov- meaning "to be hidden, covered". The word "Moscow" turns out to mean «stone shelter», and consequently the settlement gave its name to the river. This point of view hardly can be truth, because fortification was initially wooden. In some historians’ opinion, it was the river that gave the name to the city. The opinions how the river received its name also differ. The version concerning of the name’s origin from Scythian «moska» - "wandering" or "spinning" seems to be the most probable.
There are other points of view. One of them refers to the fact that the name came from Scandinavians who occupied this land and whom, in historians’ opinion, our ancestors drove back to the North. Evidently the part «va» in the name meant "water", but it is difficult to say what word gave the first part to the name of the future capital. Other experts consider that the similar word meant "wet" or "damp" in old Slavic language.
According to historic facts, the first settlements here were formed some thousand years ago. The locality was a present paradise for ancient hunters and fishermen. Therefore in a short time the population of the settlement that was formed as it often happened, nearby to the river, gradually increased. At the same time exact information about this period was not preserved.
Because of this reason the date of Moscow’s formation is considered to be the date of its first mention in the chronicle - 1147. In the chronicle it was mentioned the invitation the Novgorod prince Svyatoslav Olegovich on a military council in «Moskov» by the Suzdal prince Yuri Dolgoruky.
Nine years later Yuri Dolgoruky who is considered to be the founder of Moscow, ordered to erect here a fortress. At that time it was equivalent to formation of the city. The first Moscow fortress was wooden, but vast and strong enough. Soon Moscow became quite a well-known place of trade - the main defining factor of that time was a navigable river. Due to the favourable geographical position Moscow opened trading ways to The Oka and The Volga.
At first Moscow was lot of the Vladimirī-Suzdal princedom, and there wasn’t the own prince there.
He appeared only at the beginning of XIII century. Vladimir Vsevolodovich became him. However, Vsevolod the Third who left Moscow to him as the inheritance had 3 more sons, each of whom wished to possess a favourable in any aspect city. That’s why frequent fights between brothers happened, but Moscow was remained to Vladimir.
Prince Daniel Aleksandrovich - the son of a well-known prince Alexander Nevsky became one of the outstanding public figures in history of city’s development. He managed to begin uniting of lands divided and weakened by invasions of the numerous enemies of Russia. In 1326 the residence of metropolitans of Russian Orthodox Church was transferred from Vladimir to Moscow.
During this time city’s army had to beat off from the Tatar-Mongolians who considerably surpassed it with forces. At first time city was ruined during Baty-khan’s invasion in 1238. At the end of XIV century Tokhtamysh-khan managed to enter Moscow with help of cunning: as a result the wooden Moscow Kremlin was burn to the ground.
At the end of XV century Russia was finally set free from Tatar-Mongolian yoke and Moscow’s fortification as the center of Russia went on. At that time Ivan the Third was the Moscow prince. Already then not only fortresses, but also temples were actively built. Approximately it was this time that Trinity Square arose. Nowadays it is known as Red Square. Besides in 1553 the first printing office was constructed and Moscow became not only trading and political but also the cultural center of Russia.
Nobody had any doubt whether Moscow was the main city of Russia: for a long time the Kremlin has been a residence of Great Russian princes. In the middle of XVI century it was in Moscow that the first Russian tsar Ivan IV, further well-known as the Terrible, was crowned on a throne. Constantinople patriarch Iosaf confirmed a legitimacy to call Ivan IV the first Russian tsar - the person representing not only political, but also spiritual authority. In spite of rather a cruel character Ivan the Terrible continued joining of Russian lands to Moscow. As is known he conquered Kazan and Astrakhan khanate and the Volga region. Furthermore Ivan IV led a number of successful reforms.
At the beginning of XVII century «The Time of Troubles» came. During this period Moscow remained without the legal heir. The Polish interventionists used this situation and actually for some time seized power at the state. However, due to interference of people’s elder Kozma Minin and prince Pozharsky who united people against foreign aggressors, the city was soon set free. Michael Fedorovich who was a representative of new and last imperial dynasty of Romanovs entered the throne.
During Peter the Great’s reforms Moscow lost the status of capital for some time but got the glory as the cultural center of Russia. In 1755 the Moscow State University was opened. Also the literature and publicism actively developed, the majority of outstanding writers lived and worked in this city.
At the beginning of XIX century there were again difficult times for Moscow. Russian armies could not stop powerful French army under Napoleon’s leadership, and the decision to leave the city was accepted. Having entered Moscow, The French army ruined city and set fire to it. However, Napoleon did not receive necessary provision and, certainly, power above Russia. Soon Napoleon’s army which was weakened because of frosts, the endless attacks by separate parts of Russian troops and lack of provision was defeated. The city again became free and was restored.
At the end of XIX century Moscow went through not only the cultural development connected with activity of various political and public statesmen of that time. In the city the number of factories and plants increased that contributed to attracting much more population to Moscow. Already by the end of a before last century the population of the city reached one million. The most difficult time for Russian capital in the last century became the time of World War II. All forces were used to defend the city, Russian soldiers and the ordinary town-dwellers fought for each meter of the land. The persistence and heroism of defenders could stop aggressors in several kilometers from city and pass into counteroffensive. It was one of significant battles in history.
Nowadays Moscow is not only capital of Russia, but also one of the largest and the most beautiful cities in the world. The Moscow Kremlin is not only a residence of president and the government of the country, but also a museum, a monument of history. The population of the city is approximately 10 million people. But, first of all, Moscow, the Kremlin and Red Square are symbols of the Russian state.