History - The history of Moscow spans approximately
850 years. It's fascinating in its tragedy and its
triumphs. Knyaz Yury is the founder of Moscow, and
a huge granite statue of the man on horse points towards
red City Hall, not too far from the Kremlin. Yury
actually was more like the finder, rather than the
founder. He found it very near and dear to his heart,
and took it from Boyarin Kuchka by "removing"
him permanently. At the time, Moscow was just a picturesque
village, and Kiev was actually the capital. This is
generally considered Moscow's birthday (1147). Centuries
went by and Moscow survived other conquerors like
Genghis Khan and Hitler. Fires, invasions,
rebellions, executions, and starvation all mark Moscow's
For centuries, the Mongol-Tatar's horsemen
rampaged over the Russian land. They rode into towns,
slaughtering, raping, pillaging, and extorting money,
produce, and cattle.
By the end of the 14th century, Moscow
was finally strong enough to defeat its invaders.
The battle, known as Kulikovskaya (1380) was one of
the most significant events in Russian history. Russians,
led by Muscovites, defeated the invaders. This was
the start of the demise of the khans' domination over
By the end of the 15th century, Moscow had become
the capital of the new Russia. Ivan III was in power
and married to Sophie Paleologue in 1472. Sophie recruited
the best Italian architects to create the magnificent
cathedrals, towers, and palaces of the Kremlin.
In 1547, a shy 16-year-old boy was crowned the first
Tsar. His name was Ivan Grozny, known as Ivan
the Terrible. His notorious temper led to
mass executions and tortures. In one fateful fit of
rage, he even murdered his beloved son.
To celebrate his last victory over the Khans, Ivan
ordered a cathedral built that would have no rivals
in the entire world. St. Basil's cathedral was created.
To ensure that the cathedral would not be replicated,
Ivan had it's creators blinded, thus ensuring the
cathedral would remain unique.
October 25, 1917 is the day of the October revolution.
The communist took power and thus Russia became the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
The execution of the Romanov family was the end of
Tsarist rule in Russia. Everything would now be state
controlled, state owned, and if anyone did not believe
in the state, they were tortured, jailed, executed
or exiled, never to be heard from again.
The Great Patriotic War (World War
II) was extremely difficult for Russia. 20 million
lives were lost in this war. May 9th is Victory Day,
and remains a solemn, widely observed holiday.
In the early 1990's, communism died, giving way to a new Russia.