Everybody likes fun facts and we always prepare a ton of them for our Moscow tours. We always dig deep to find some intriguing, amusing and simply fun facts about Moscow.
Here are 50 facts about Moscow from our Friendly Local Guides.
50 fun facts about Moscow, Russia
1. Moscow is so huge that it has the right to be the country. It’s official population is 12 million (2015), and it’s in TOP 10 most populous cities in the world. This is the population of Norway and Switzerland combined. Or Portugal and Estonia. Or Finland and Denmark. Whatever you prefer :)
2. Gorky Park is a Central Park of Moscow, with an attendance of more 100, 000 a day on the weekend.
3. Great reason to come visit Moscow this spring! This year Moscow metro celebrates its 80th birthday on May 15. The first ideas about the construction of Moscow Metro were expressed in 1875, However, the first Metro stations were opened only in 1935.
4. There is a legend of a secret branch, the so-called Metro-2: bunkers and tunnels connecting the Kremlin and other strategic facilities.
5. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII), Metro was used as a bomb shelter underground. Even during the war, new metro stations were built, in particular Novokuznetskaya, Paveletskaya, Baumanskaya, Elektrazovodskaya, Semenovskaya and Partisanskaya. During the bombing were born 217 children. :) The latest 196th metro station was open on Dec 8, 2014, and is called Troparevo (red line)
6. Since its opening, Metro did not work only once – on October 16, 1941. The Germans came very close to the Moscow Metro planning to destroy it. However, by the end of that day the Metro got back on track.
7. Moscow boasts the largest number of billionaires in the world. According to the Forbes, there are 84 billionaires in the city with the combined wealth of 367 billion dollars. New York takes second place in this ranking with its 62 billionaire residents.
8. Ivanovskaya Gorka (Hill) is one of the oldest parts of Moscow with not less, if not more, monuments and ancient buildings than in the Kremlin itself.
9. On June 29, 1904 Moscow experienced a real tornado, that destroyed several nearby villages (present-day Moscow), and broke the centuries-old trees in the area of Sokolniki.
10. The famous Neglinka river is just outside the Kremlin, in Alexander Garden. However, don’t hope for a swim, as it was channelled into a pipe at the beginning of the XIX century, and now it flows underground in the reservoir. If you are curious, the Neglinnaya street repeats its riverbed.
11. Moskva (Russian name) was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky in 1147. At that time the city was called Moskov, having more in common with its present English name Moscow.
12. Lenin Library is the largest in Europe, with its 43 million objects storage (maps, sheet music, sound recordings, rare books, dissertations, newspapers). In the 70s at the peak of the popularity of The Beatles, the library was tagged as the “Lennon Bitlioteka”.
13. He & She. Beware that you’re going toward the city center if you hear a male voice announcing the stations in Moscow Metro, and female voice if leaving the city center. And then again, male voice when moving in a clockwise direction, and female when against it.
14. We have a monument after a processed cheese “Druzhba” (Friendship), which is devoted to the characters of Krylov’s fables – the Crow and the Fox.
15. The first McDonalds opened in Pushkin Square on January 31, 1990. The line to the cafe ran for several kilometers on that winter day.
16. A tram number 3 is the oldest route in Moscow. The first tram started its way on April 6, 1899.
17. The Big Stone Bridge is the oldest among Moscow bridges, built in the XVII century.
18. In old times, representatives of different social classes, professions and nationalities lived in Moscow separately. That’s how we got Chef and Butcher streets, as well as Georgian settlement and Maroseyka street (due to the fact that settled here Ukrainians).
19. During its long history Moscow burned countless times. Since the houses were mostly wooden, the fire spread very quickly, and covered the entire city in minutes. In 1737, during one of the strongest fire, broke the just cast Tsar Bell.
20. The Kremlin, as we know it, was built by the Italians. When in the XV century its walls and temples got seriously dilapidated and needed repair, the Russian architects were unable to cope with this problem. So the Grand Duke Ivan III invited foreign experts to Moscow, under the leadership of which were built new temples and walls.
21. Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin is the oldest survived building in Moscow. To date, it is 535 years. It was built on August 12, 1479, and is the highlight of our Moscow Kremlin tour.
22. Before the XX century, the walls of the Kremlin were traditionally whitewashed, so Moscow was called “White Stone”. Spire towers were crowned with heraldic eagles of the Russian Empire.
23. The Moscow Kremlin is the the world’s largest medieval fortress.
24. Ostankino TV Tower is the highest tower in Europe with an overall height of 540 m.
25. Maslenitsa (Mardi Gras) is the only pagan holiday, officially recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian people at all times loved Pancake Day. Holiday rituals were planned by day, and it was very important to adhere to them.
26. The famous in Russia expression “Moscow doesn’t believe in tears” is hundreds of years old, and it came from the time of the rise of Moscow. In those days, Russian cities were to pay a great tribute to Moscow. To avoid or delay the payment, the petitioners begged and cried to persuade the emperor to extend the repayment period, to reduce the size or eliminate the tribute. However, all in vain, as the emperor, who “did not believe in tears”, gave the order to punish the petitioners.
27. The Patriarch’s Ponds is a mystical place, which became the starting point of the cult novel “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov’s. The official museum was opened in 2007.
28. Moscow gets its name from the river. According to one version, on the Old Slavonic “Moscow” meant “wet”, as Moscow was built on swamps.
29. There are 3,500 historical streets and cute alleys, wide avenues and vast squares, mysterious embankments, endless highways and fast driveways in Moscow
30. And there are 2700 restaurants in Moscow, and still counting
31. Arbat street is one of the oldest in Moscow. It’s 520 years old.
32. First wooden toys and Russian souvenirs appeared in Russia in XVI century.
33. The millionth citizen of Moscow was born in 1897.
34. The largest zoo of whole Russia was founded in 1864 in Moscow. At the moment it is home to more than 3,000 animals of 550 species from all over the world.
35. The highest monument in Moscow is Victory Obelisk, 141.8 meters high. Each 10cm of its height represent one day of the Great Patriotic War. It was opened on 9 May 1995.
36. Trains in Moscow metro go more frequently than in any other subway in the world. At peak times the interval between trains is just 1.5 minute.
37. The Russian Public Library is the largest in Europe and second in the world after the US Library of Congress. It is located in Moscow, and was founded in 1862.
38. The famous Moscow sadist-landowner Darya Saltykova, who killed and tortured tens of peasants and serfs, had the house on the corner of Bolshaya Lubyanka and Kuznetsky Most. Ironically, now there are buildings of the FBI, in the basement of which many people were tortured in the 1930s.
39. Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014 were the twenty-second Winter Games in history. It is noteworthy that in 1980 in Moscow was carried out twenty-second Summer Olympics.
40. Matryoshka doll (Nestling, or Babushka dolls, as they are sometimes called) was born at the beginning of XX century, in the city of Sergiev Posad, which has the country’s only school and museum of toys.
41. There are 7 identical high-rise buildings in Moscow: 2 hotels, 2 office buildings, 2 houses and a university. These are Stalin skyscrapers, or Seven Sisters. There are Seven Stalin Skyscrapers, and there used to be Seven Hills Moscow stood on in XIV century.
42. Currently, the “seven hills” include eight following elevations: 1. Borovitskii Hill (aka Kremlin Hill); 2. Ivanovo hill; 3. “Three Mountains” (areas of Presnya and Vagankovo); 4. Tver hill, or Holy Hill (now Pushkin Square); 5. Sretensky hill or Sukharevsky hill (near the Sretenskie Gates square); 6. Tagan hill or Shvivaya slide (Zayauze); 7. Vvedenskie mountain or hill Lefortovsky (in Lefortovo) and 8. Sparrow Hills.
43. Cities, which are also identified by their seven hills: Rome, Constantinople, Kiev, Washington, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa, Smolensk.
44. More than twenty stations of the Moscow Metro contain various fossils, where you can find a nautilus shell, ammonites and other prehistoric shellfish.
45. Nine million passengers use the Moscow metro daily. This is more than London and New York subways combined.
46. There is a stray of dogs that ride the Moscow Metro every day on the same route. They know when and where to have a yummy lunch.
47. Moscow State University is the world’s largest university building in the world.
48. Izmailovo Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world, with an area of 15.34 square kilometers, or 1534 hectares. Izmaylovo Park is six times bigger than Central Park in New York, and 30 times bigger than the gorgeous Abramtsevo park, a famous Russian landmark in Moscow region.
49. Moscow Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences is Europe’s largest botanical garden. The Garden was founded in April 1945, shortly before the end of World War II. The Garden presents 18000 plants from the former Soviet Union and the world.
50. Stromynka street, named after the ancient road, is older that Moscow itself!
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