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Though Moscow is
young as compared with Rome, Athens or even London, we can hardly, imagine the
history of Russia or world history without it. In 1997 we celebrated the 850-th
anniversary and now at the end of the 20th
century we are witnesses to Moscow's renaissance. It is becoming an impressive,
modem capital city in the European sense, while at the same time preserving its
national and unique character, and its unforgettable historical appearance.
Moscow’s origins have long been
shrouded in the legend says that Moscow was founded by mystery of time, but
there are many stories linked with it. One Noah's grandson, Tsar Mosokh. On the
site of a little hill which is now known as Shvivaya Gorka, he founded a little
town and settled down there. Mosokh's wife was called Kva. These names were
combined into the word Moskva.
The most popular story attributes the
foundation of Moscow to the Suzdal Prince Yury Dolgoruky, who was the son of
the Kievan Prince Vladimir Monomakh. At that time the area where Moscow stands
was one of the extensive possessions of the boyar Stepan Kuchka. Later Yury
founded Moscow on the site of Kuchka's possessions. The date of Moscow's
founding is generally accepted to be 4 April
1147, when Yury Dolgoruky received his
brother Prince Svyatoslav Olgovich in Moscow. This is the first record of
Moscow in Russian chronicles,
This little Russian town grew rapidly because
it was situated at the meeting point of she most important trade routes, and
conveniently located in the very centre of Russia. Moscow's heyday begins with
the time of Ivan Kalita, from the first half of the, 14th ceniury.
It was then that it became the spiritual centre of Rus. In 1327 Moscow became the capital of the Prussian principalities. It
led Rus to the Battle of Kulikovo having mar-aged, to unite Jhe fragmented
forces in fighting the Mongol invaders. Over centuries Moscow gathered Russian
lands around it creating a powerful Russian State.
The powerful city grew in might and
importance. By the end of the 16th
century it was surrounded by four fortified walls to defend it from enemy
attacks. Situated on the Borovitsky Hill, the Kremlin was the centre of Moscow.
Craftsmen and traders settled nearby in the trading quarter, which was enclosed
by the new wall called Kitai-Gorod. Later a further two fortified walls had
appeared - Beliy Gorod, which followed the line of the modern Boulevard Ring,
and Zemlyanoi Gorod, whose boundaries became the Garden Ring. Roads to other
Russian cities led from the Kremlin like the spokes of a wheel. At that time
Moscow acquired its international significance.
The 18th century would see Moscow lose its pre-eminence in
favour of the northern capital St. Petersburg, which Peter the Great had built.
Nevertheless, Moscow remained the heart of Russia. Emperors would still come to
Moscow to celebrate their accession to the throne.
In 1812 Moscow bore the
brunt of Napoleon's war, and it is in Moscow' that Napoleon's dreams of world
domination were buried.
The beginning of the 20th century brought tremendous changes to the life of
the Russian people, which reflected in the historical fate of Moscow. In March 1918 the Bolshevik government moved from
Petrograd to Moscow and in 1922 it
became the capital of the former Soviet Union.
No city reflects the confusions and
contradictions of the Russian national spirit more fully than Moscow. Every
turn of Russian history can be sensed in its houses, monuments and street names
- from the Tatar invasion, to the unification of Russia, to the disastrous fire
of 1812, to the building of
socialism. Last year we celebrated 850th
anniversary, and it means that we remember our past and think about our