Moscow is the capital and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural and scientific center of Russia and the continent. Moscow is the northernmost megacity on Earth, the most populous city in Europe, and the 6th largest city proper in the world.
Under Ivan I of Moscow the city replaced Tver as a political center of Vladimir-Suzdal and became the sole collector of taxes for the Mongol-Tatar rulers. By paying high tribute, Ivan won an important concession from the Khan. Unlike other principalities, Moscow was not divided among his sons but was passed intact to his eldest. Moscow's opposition against foreign domination grew. In 1380, prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow led a united Russian army to an important victory over the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo. The battle, however, was not decisive and only two years later Moscow was sacked by khan Tokhtamysh. Ivan III, in 1480, finally broke the Russians free from Tatar control, allowing Moscow to become the center of power in Russia. Under Ivan III the city became the capital of an empire that would eventually encompass all of present-day Russia and other lands.
In 1941, sixteen divisions of the national volunteers (more than 160,000 people), twenty-five battalions (18,500 people) and four engineering regiments were formed among the Muscovites. That November, the German Army Group Center was stopped at the outskirts of the city and then driven off in the Battle of Moscow. Many factories were evacuated, together with much of the government, and from 20 October the city was declared to be under siege. Its remaining inhabitants built and manned anti-tank defenses, while the city was bombarded from the air. Joseph Stalin refused to leave the city, meaning the general staff and the council of people's commissars remained in the city as well.
Tverskaya Street is also one of the busiest shopping streets in Moscow. The adjoining Tretyakovsky Proyezd, also south of Tverskaya Street, in Kitai-gorod, is host to upscale boutique stores such as Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., Armani, Prada and Bentley.
A huge and quickly growing range of restaurants, with a matching range of prices, has developed in Moscow. Lately a lot of new "middle-class" restaurants have opened, filled with families on weekends. Non-chain restaurants and cafes promising "European and Caucasus cuisine" are equally bad in either one most of the time; seek a specialist single-region venue instead (Georgian, Russian, Italian, French etc). Lifetime of an average restaurant or cafe in Moscow is 2 years -- in 2 years the quality decreases, or it changes ownership, name and/or format.
Many small restaurants within the Sadovoye ring are now offering prix-fixe "business lunches" at around RUB200-250, for the teeming hordes of white-collars populating the neighborhood during the day. These deals are valid in the middle of the day (12-3 PM) and include a cup of soup or an appetizer, the main dish of the day (a smaller portion than if you order a la carte; sometimes there's even a limited choice), bread (no Russian eats anything without a slice) and a beverage (soda or coffee/tea; beer costs extra); it is a reasonably priced, freshly cooked quick meal in the middle of your wanderings which will tide you through to the evening.
- St Basil's Cathedral Or The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat - also known as Pokrovsky Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Vasily the Blessed but popularly as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is a Russian Orthodox church erected on Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible. It commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. St. Basil's marks the geometric center of Moscow. It has been the hub of the city's growth since the 14th century and was the city's tallest building until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600. The original building, known as "Trinity Church" and later "Trinity Cathedral", contained eight side churches arranged around the ninth, central church of Intercession; the tenth church was erected in 1588 over the grave of venerated local saint Vasily (Basil). In the 16th and 17th centuries the church, perceived as the earthly symbol of the Heavenly City, as happens to all churches in Byzantine Christianity, was popularly known as the "Jerusalem" and served as an allegory of the Jerusalem Temple in the annual Palm Sunday parade attended by the Patriarch of Moscow and the tsar.
- The Moscow Kremlin, sometimes referred to as simply the Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River (to the south), Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square (to the east) and the Alexander Garden (to the west). It is the best known of kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes four palaces, four cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. The site has been continuously inhabited since the 2nd century BC, and originates from a Vyatich fortified structure (or "grad") on Borovitsky Hill where the Neglinnaya River flowed into the Moskva River. The Slavs occupied the south-western portion of the hill as early as the 11th century, as evidenced by a metropolitan seal from the 1090s, which was unearthed by Soviet archaeologists in the area. Up to the 14th century, the site was known as the 'grad of Moscow'. The word "kremlin" was first recorded in 1331 and its etymology is disputed. The grad was greatly extended by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy in 1156, destroyed by the Mongols in 1237 and rebuilt in oak in 1339. The Kremlin walls as they now appear were built between 1485 and 1495.
- Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924 (with rare exceptions in wartime). The Mausoleum is open every day from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, except holidays, Mondays and Fridays. Visitors still wait in lines to see Lenin's body although they are not as long as they once were. Entrance is free of charge. All items capable of recording video or audio as well as taking a picture are strictly forbidden inside the mausoleum. All electronic items must be checked in a nearby building containing lockers. Before visitors are allowed to enter the mausoleum, armed police or military guards search each visitor.
- Novodevichy Convent, also known as Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery is probably the best-known cloister of Moscow. Its name, sometimes translated as the New Maidens' Monastery, was devised to differ from an ancient maidens' convent within the Moscow Kremlin. Unlike other Moscow cloisters, it has remained virtually intact since the 17th century. In 2004, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The convent was founded in 1524 by Grand Prince Vasili III in commemoration of the conquest of Smolensk in 1514. It was built as a fortress at a curve of the Moskva River and became an important part of the southern defensive belt of the capital, which had already included a number of other monasteries. Upon its founding, the Novodevichy Convent was granted 3,000 rubles and the villages of Akhabinevo and Troparevo. Ivan the Terrible would later grant a number of other villages to the convent.
- The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre, designed by architect Joseph Bové, which holds performances of ballet and opera. The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are amongst the oldest and most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world. The theatre is the parent company of The Bolshoi Ballet Academy, a world-leading school of ballet. The main building of the theatre, rebuilt and renovated several times during its history, is a landmark of Moscow and Russia (its iconic neoclassical facade is depicted on the Russian 100-ruble banknote). On 28 October 2011, the Bolshoi was re-opened after an extensive six year renovation costing about 21 billion rubles (about $680 million). The renovation included restoring acoustics to the original quality (which had been lost during the Soviet Era), as well as restoring the original Imperial decor of the Bolshoi.