Congratulations! We’ve turned 870! The White-Stoned Moscow to celebrate its Birthday in September!
One of top ten metropolises in the world, the largest library in Europe, hundreds of museums and thousands of artifacts—this is just a short list of the city’s proudest achievements. Every year, the first weekend of September Moscow celebrates it City Day. This year, it is a jubilee – 870 years. Apparently, the White-Stoned City is much older but no one can say for sure when exactly it was founded. The starting date was chosen to be 1147 when Moscow was first mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle.
It’s interesting to know that for a long time there was no tradition of celebrating the city’s birthday. It was first celebrated only in 1947 when Moscow turned eight centuries old!
There is so much to be said about Moscow and we are convinced that even multiple books wouldn’t suffice to reveal all of its mysteries. That is why Bulba News presents you with only the most interesting facts.
The river, the Finns, and the bears
Researchers are still arguing about the origin of the city’s name. There are two widely accepted theories. According to the first, Moscow is closely connected to the river on which it was built. A long time ago, its banks were inhabited by Finnish tribes. In their language, “mosk” means “bear,” and “va” “water.” The proponents of the second variant insist that the name is Slavic, because “moskva” in Old Slavic meant “wetlands,” “humidity.”
Come to me, brother, to Moscow
It is commonly accepted that the capital of Russia was founded in 1147 by Yuri Dolgoruky. But back then it was called in an Anglophone style – Moskau. At least that’s what Dolgoruky wrote to his cousin from Chernihiv – Prince Sviatoslav Olgovich: “Come to me, brother, to Moskau.” It gives reason to think that the White-Stoned City existed long before 1147.
The unofficial nickname for the city is quite easily explained. Up till the 20th century, the Kremlin walls were white-washed, and that’s why Moscow was called the White-Stoned. The spikes on its towers were decorated not with stars as they are today, but with eagles—emblems of the Russian Empire. After the Revolution, Lenin demanded that they should be taken down, but this did not happen until the 1930s.
We are twelve million!
Moscow is the biggest city by its population in Russia and in Europe. It accommodates over twelve million people! With this number, the capital of Russia has long been one of the top ten metropolises of the world. Conventionally, the true Muscovites are those who have been living in the capital for four generations. There is less than 2 percent of such residents in Moscow! At the same time, the number of ethnic Russians is constantly getting lower.
The Moss Street and the Grove Gates
The names of streets and squares of the city have historical meanings. For example, Borovitskie Gates in Kremlin – the Grove Gates – were called so because outside them grew a pine grove. In the place of a river bank covered with moss, arose the Moss Street – Mokhovaya Street, and next to a small bog – Bog Street – Bolotnaya.
Today, the overall length of all streets of Moscow is 4,350 km. In order to walk this distance, a human being needs to walk non-stop for over a month!
Fan of books? Come over and stop by!
The Russian State Library located in Moscow can boast the richest book collection in Russia and Europe, and one of the largest in the world. It stores over forty million books! It is superseded only by the National Library of Congress in Washington, DC. It is a real paradise for bookworms and researchers!
A mysterious river
In the very center of Moscow runs a river which has not been seen for many generations of Muscovites. The river is called the Neglinka. It used to be quite big, but was later covered by a concrete collector and hidden underground. The street bearing its name runs above the stream of the very river. Regular passers-by who walk on that street have no idea that only a metal hatch and a few meters of earth separate them from the river.
The height record
The highest TV tower in Europe is the Ostankino Tower. It is 540 meters high!
We are among the richest!
Last year the Forbes Magazine calculated that by the number of billionaires who live in the city, Moscow is ranked third globally, and the previous year it was number two! According to the magazine, in 2016, there were 60 billionaires in Russia’s capital whose total capital comprised over 217 billion! Only New York City and Hong Kong were before Moscow in the ranking.
The biggest fortress
The Kremlin of Moscow is the biggest surviving and functioning fortress in Europe. Its area is over 27 hectares. It is interesting to know that in times of war and enemy sieges there were several attempts to destroy the fortification, but nobody succeeded. For example, in 1941, when the White-Stoned City was bombed by the Germans, the Kremlin was disguised so that no one could see it. That is why only 15 bombs fell on the fortress for the entire duration of the war!
Eight million passengers a day!
Moscow metro is one of the deepest and most beautiful in the world. According to the statistics, it carries over eight million passengers daily, and it’s a record number in the world. Incidentally, on all inbound trains the stops are announced in a male voice, while on the outbound trains in a female voice. It is meant to help visually impaired passengers get around in the metro.
The underground train could have appeared in Moscow as early as in 1875, but the clergy then said: “How could we allow for this sinful dream to come true? How can a human being, made in the image and likeness of God, lower himself to descending into the netherworld?”