Moscow is the capital of Russia, centre of the Moscow region. Moscow is located at 55.55’of northern latitude and 37.37’ to the east of the Greenwich’s meridian, in the centre of the East-European plain in the zone of mixed forests.
It’s intersected by the Moscow river, which takes a number of tributaries between the Oka and the Volga. The largest of the tributaries are the Yausa and Setun’.
Moscow is one of the world biggest megapolis. Its population was equal to 9,011,000 people. The territory of Moscow was 878,7 square kilometres. The boundary of Moscow (since 1960) corresponds to the Moscow ring road that is situated at 17-21 kilometres from a city centre.
Local authorities are, since 1991, Moscow Mairia and Moscow government.
In terms of urban ecology, Moscow was advertised as a very clean city during the stagnation period, but recently, with positive political changes the real situation became known: air and water pollution by chemicals is rather heavy, in the southern and south-eastern parts of the town, specifically. This is explained by the pattern of enterprises and by the predominant winds. Moreover, information on radioactive pollution is now available, and separate strongly polluted sites have been discovered. Unfortunately, they are dispersed all over the territory of the town including its public gardens and densely populated blocks («sleeping regions»).
People and language
More than 9 mln people are living in Moscow, and more than 11mln in Moscow with its suburbs. Initially, Russians predominated, and this is true now as well, although there are some changes in proportions between Russians, Tatars, Jews and people from the Caucasus republics. Moscovites by birth are not so numerous now.
The Moscow dialect was specific: a tendency to use the sound «a» instead of «O» was recorded by scientists and writers; in the same time, the Moscow dialect is thought to be the closest to the correct «pure» language.
Location and Climate
Moscow is located at 55.55’of northern latitude and 37.37’ to the east of the Greenwich’s meridian, in the centre of the East-European plain.
There is a folk saying about seven hills supporting Moscow. In reality, hilly are only some parts of former Moscow area, and the highest is the south-western part of the town. Geographically, it is defined as Teplostanskaya upland; the central and eastern parts of the town’s area are more flat and low, and its major part is occupied by the valley of Moskva river with its tributaries.
The Moscow climate is moderately continental, although it is more then in other European cities. Temperature amplitude is 28 C. The cool period of the year starts in September, 29 and ends in May,10. Normally, the rainfall ranges within 540...650mm per year. The rainy period lasts from April to October. The duration of the severe snow period is estimated thus: November, 26 - April, 11. The height of the snow cover reaches 35 cm in the end of winter. Atmospheric pressure, that doesn’t strongly change during the year, is 747mm. Winds in Moscow may blow in any direction, but during periods of warm weather the north-western ones prevail, while the south-western winds are proper to cool seasons.
Weather is rather unstable in Moscow, and the weather forecast service is the most common object for jokes. One of possible reasons justifying not quite reliable forecasts is a considerable temperature amplitude between parts of Moscow, it may reach 10¸C in spring or autumn.
Christianity is a predominant religion in Moscow. Russian Orthodox Church is most popular, other religious sociteies are active: Moslems, Protestants, Old-belivers, Single-belivers, Judaism. Each religious confession has its own church, or synagogue, or any other house for praying, as well as a school and publishing house.
Vegetation and Animals
The position of Moscow in the mixed-forest zone determines the type of original (primary) vegetation. Oak and lime were growing in the south, spruce and oak - in the north-west, pine - in east and north-east, spruce and deciduous tree species are common in the north. Among grasses those, typical for forests, prevail: aegopodium, pulmonaria, asarum, centaurea etc.
Original vegetation on the city’s territory is almost eliminated. There are only some oldest gardens with rare original plants having survived.
There are over 160 species of birds, 34 species of mammals, 15 species of fishes and some species of amphibias. Among birds sparrow, pigeon, jackdaw, swallow, rook, craw are common.
The most widely spread among mammals are squirrel and hare, as well mole, mouse, rat. Bream, crucian, ruff, perch, pike are predominant in the fish communities.
Green frogs and tritons may be encountered in Moscow and its surroundings.