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Moscow Travel Guide

Moscow History

The first mention in the Historical Chronicles is made about the city of Moscow, which was founded by Russian prince Yury Dolgoruky. His name relates to the first written mention of Moscow, which dates back to 1147. That was there, on the banks of Moskva River, the origin of the name unknown, although several theories exist. One theory suggests that the source of the name is an ancient Finnic language, in which it means “dark” and “turbid”, where Yuri Dolgoruky arranged a sumptuous feast in the honour of his ally Prince Svyatoslav Olgovich.

Nine years later, in 1156, Prince Yuri Dolgoruki of Rostov ordered the construction of the first wooden Kremlin wall, which had to be rebuilt multiple times, to surround the emerging city. In 1157 Original towers and walls of the Kremlin are completed. After the sacking of 1237–1238, when the Mongols burned the city to the ground and killed its inhabitants, Moscow recovered and became the capital of an independent principality in 1327. Its favourable position on the headwaters of the Volga River contributed to steady expansion. Moscow developed into a stable and prosperous principality for many years and attracted a large number of refugees from across Russia. In 1330 Moscow becomes the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church; Ivan I constructs the Assumption Cathedral. In 1533 Ivan IV (the Terrible) becomes Grand Duke of Moscow at three years of age and in 1547 he proclaims himself Tsar.

In 16th century new streets and small settlements were built round the Kremlin and Kitai-Gorod and during the period between 1583 and 1593 the new area of Moscow was also surrounded by a white wall of 9 km length it was supervised by Fedor Kon famous Russian architect. The white walls gave the name to this area of the ancient town, which was called Bely Gorod (White Town). The names of several squares located in the area of Bulvarnoye Koltso still keep the memory about the ancient gates of the old White Town. The beautiful and ancient ensemble of the Moscow's Kremlin stands high on the hill towering over the left bank of Moskva-River. The Kremlin has always been perceived as a symbol of power and mighty of the Russian state, the national idea expressed in stone. Each era in the history of Russia left its significant architectural trace in the Kremlin. Late in the evening the brightly illuminated Kremlin ensemble presents a fantastic, majestic and sophisticated harmony.

The chain of Tsar Dynasty was broken, the event, which took Russia to the long seven years of the Time of Troubles. Those were the years of civil war, uprisings, murder, foreign aggression and national disaster. The Russian state had reached the edge of downfall and again like many times before, it was saved by Moscow. Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and rural council elder Kuzma Minin managed to unite the opposing forces and the people's volunteers won decisive victory over foreign invaders. Moscow History

The monument to Minin and Pozharsky was erected at the Red Square, close to Cathedral of the Intercession.Next to the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed stands the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, the leaders of the people's volunteers of the war of 1612. Lobnoye Mesto, a round stoned pedestal, faces the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed. It was built as a symbol of Calvary. Some people believe that Lobnoye Mesto was used for executions, but instead, it was used to proclaim tsar's edicts and to hold various religious ceremonies.

In 1613 Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov (1596-1651) was elected the Tsar of Russia. His ancestors ruled the country up to the October Bolshevik's revolt of 1917. By 1713 Peter the Great (1672-1725) transferred the capital of Russia to St. Petersburg, which he had founded. But Moscow remained the heart of Russia and "the First Capital"; all Russian Tsars were crowned in Moscow, in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin. During the years of 17th and 18th centuries Moscow had greatly expanded its borders. Tsarina Elizaveta Petrovna ordered a so called "Kamer-Kollezhski" Bank to be built round the new living areas of Moscow.

In the beginning of the 19th century all patriotic forces of Russia were united by Moscow during the Patriotic war of 1812. By June 1812 Napoleon invades Russia with half a million soldiers, 7 Sep 1812 French and Russian armies clash at Borodino Field, 110km (70 miles) from Moscow, 14 Sep 1812 Following withdrawal of Russian forces, Napoleon enters Moscow, but the city is empty and fires break out, Autumn 1812 Napoleon retreats from Moscow. More than two-thirds of the city (including the Kremlin) is burned during the occupation by Napoleon Bonaparte.


Moscow Hystory Part II  »

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