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Moscow

Moscow is the capital of Russia, its administrative, economic, political and educational center. It is one of Russia's major cities with a population of about 10 million people. Moscow's total area is about 900 thousand square kilometers.

The city was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy and was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1147. At that time it was a small settlement. By the 15th century Moscow had grown into a wealthy city. In the 16th century under Ivan the Terrible Moscow became the capital of the State Moscovy. In the 18th century Peter the Great transferred the capital to St. Petersburg.

During the war of 1812 seventy-five percent of the city was destroyed by fire. However, by the middle of the 19th century Moscow was completely rebuilt.

Moscow is a major industrial city. Its leading industries are engineering, chemical and light industries. Moscow is known for its many historical buildings, museums and art galleries. Museums are considered to be an important part of the National Heritage. There are more than 80 museums in Moscow, the largest are the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the State Tretyakov Gallery. The Tretyakov Gallery is a major research, artistic, cultural and educational center. The Gallery takes its name from its founder, merchant Pavel Tretyakov, who began to collect Russian paintings in 1856. The collection was donated as a gift to the city in 1882. Later it was supplemented by collections from other museums and private citizens. The Tretyakov Gallery has a rich collection of old Russian Icons from the 11th to the 17th century, and many fine examples of Russian paintings from the 18th to the early 19th century. The Gallery contains halls devoted to old Russian paintings, to great masters such as Ivanov, Serov, Surikov, Repin and Levitan. Levitan was one of the first painters to reveal the beauty of Russian landscape. He is a real poet of the Russian countryside. Levitan was a very unique painter. There is something in his landscapes that reflects our moods. He deeply felt what he wanted to depict. A master of landscape, he never introduced figures into it. Although, if you look at "The Autumn in Sokolniki" you will notice the figure in the center. Everything seems to underline the loneliness of this figure: the trees loosing their leaves, the remote indifferent sky, the path going off into the distance. But the fact is that it was not Levitan who painted this figure. It was Chekhov's brother Nikolai who did it.

Levitan's influence over lyrical landscape painters can't be over estimated. His paintings have won the love and gratitude of people everywhere.

The oldest part of Moscow is the Kremlin. This is the main tourist attraction in Moscow. The word "Kremlin" means "fortress". And the Moscow Kremlin used to be a fortress. In 1156 the small settlement of Moscow was surrounded by a wooden wall and became a Kremlin. The town and the Kremlin were burnt in 1237, but they were rebuilt. In the 14th century Prince Dmitry Donskoy built a white stone wall around the Kremlin, and in the 15th century the Kremlin was surrounded by a new red-brick wall. Twenty towers of the Kremlin wall were constructed at the end of the 17th century. The Spasskaya Tower is a true symbol of Moscow and all-Russia. It has a famous clock called the Kremlin clock, and one can hear the clock chiming on the radio.

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