Moscow: History

More than just Fur and Vodka

Moscow History

Moscow was founded in 1147 and its name translates as “the city by the Moskva River.” The Kremlin has been present in some form since the 2nd millennium BC. In 1156, Prince Yuri Dolguruki ordered city walls built, which had to be extended several times as Moscow grew. In 1237-38 the city was invaded by the Mongols, who burnt it to the ground – killing all inhabitants. Moscow has been burnt twice more since in recorded history – in 1571 by the Crimean-Tatars and by its own citizens in 1812 as Napoleon’s French Army approached. Moscow officially became the capital of Vladimir Suzdal’s reign in 1327. The city has been under several realms of control since then, including the Crimean-Tatars and the Polish-Lithuanians. It has incurred uprisings both for and against the Russian rule and like London, suffered a plague outbreak in 1654-56. After St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, it was removed as capital and didn’t regain the prestige until 1918. Moscow was particularly famous throughout Stalin’s reign in World War II, when it also housed the Defence Committee and the headquarters of the Red Army. This led to constant bombardment by the raging Nazi army in 1941, and was evacuated (apart from Stalin and the resistance effort) but never captured. In 1980 the city hosted the Olympic Games (boycotted by the United States due to the Cold War). Moscow’s Statue Park contains many remnants of the Communist regimes and its “founder”, Lenin is embalmed and available for viewing in the city.