Founded in the 12th century on a hill overlooking the Moskva River, Moscow became the capital of the young Russian nation two centuries later, while it was battling against Tatar rule. In 1546, Ivan the Terrible inaugurated the country's long line of tsars: Russia was from then on a strong nation, with Moscow as the guardian of its traditions.
The Kremlin, Red Square… These places, frequently mentioned during news reports, especially in reference to the Cold War, are now vestiges of those formative years. However, you'll find the Russian soul as vibrant as ever as you approach the city's high brick ramparts and its beautifully-restored multicoloured onion domes. Abandoned cathedrals have undergone a renaissance: those that were destroyed have been rebuilt and now spill over with the litanies of their priests and the odour of incense. The Russian capital has never faltered in its role as a cultural centre: with some 40 theatres and more than 60 museums, rarely has a city been this passionate about culture.
Seen from afar, Moscow looks like a rather cold ant's nest, a sprawling metropolis of nearly 9 million inhabitants with seemingly endless suburbs served by scores of buses and trams. Within its core, Moscow never stops moving, changing and dreaming. Cut off from freedom for decades, today it strives to explore all its possibilities: creativity, music, business, gastronomy, nightlife… Moscow is a city on the go.