Moscow is the capital , the most populous city and the main economic and financial center of Russia . It stands on the banks of the Moskva River with more than 12 million inhabitants , as well as being the most populous city in the country, it is the second largest city in Europe by population and surface area after Istanbul . It is also the residence of about a tenth of Russian citizens and the northernmost city with more than 10 million people in the world; it is therefore the tenth most populous city in the world and, due to its rigid continental climate , the northernmost and coldest megalopolis of the Earth . Moscow constitutes one of the largest global urban economies.
It was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Moscow , of the reign of the Tsars of Muscovy , of the Russian Empire (until 1713 and then from 1728 to 1732 ) and of the Soviet Union ; now the seat of the Government of the Russian Federation , located in the Moscow Kremlin , a fortified medieval citadel that serves as the seat of the Russian President . The Kremlin and Red Square are one of the many World Heritage sites located in the territory of the Moscow Oblast . The Russian Parliament (composed of theState Duma and Federal Council ) has its seat in the city.
Moscow is renowned for its unique architectural styles. The Ostankino Tower is the tallest structure in Europe; the Federation Tower , the second tallest skyscraper in Europe and the Moscow International Business Center.
With more than 40% of its territory covered with plants, it is one of the greenest capitals in Europe and in the world; the main parks of the city include Gorky Park , Kolomenskoye Park and Tsaritsyno Park . Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, being the birthplace and residence of famous Russian artists, scientists and sportsmen of the past and present, as well as home to numerous museums, academies, political institutions and theaters.
The city is served by an extensive transport network, which includes 4 international airports , 9 railway stations, numerous trams, a monorail system , a surface railway system, a gondola system , a developed car sharing and bike sharing service and the subway, which is one of the largest and deepest in the world, the busiest in Europe and the fourth busiest in the world; it is one of the landmarks of the city and is famous for the rich architecture of its 200 stations.
Moscow was founded in 1147 by Yuri Dolgorukij . Over time the city has received numerous epithets, referring to its size and pre-eminent status within the nation: ” third Rome”.