The World Cup is heating this year in beautiful Moscow. With the final 16 duking it out to win the cup, here are 16 interesting facts about Moscow.
Moscow gets hot weather in Summer and cold weather in Winter. The hottest months are July and August, when the temperatures can reach 30-35 Celsius but gets mild around September and goes down to zero by the end of October. The first snow appears in mid-November, but the snowiest months are in January and February with the latter being the coldest with temperatures as low as -15 Celsius. The snow leaves at the end of March and April brings with it warm weather.
The first McDonalds in Russia opened in Pushkin Square on January 31, 1990 symbolising the fall communism. The line on the first day reached several kilometres and today Russia has 517 McDonald's restaurants in Russia, 73 of which were opened in 2014.
There is an expression in Russia: “Moscow doesn’t believe in tears” which came from the time of the rise of Moscow hundreds of years ago. Russian cities had to pay a great tribute to Moscow. The petitioners begged and cried to persuade the emperor to extend, avoid or remove the repayment period. However, the emperor didn’t believe in tears and refused to change the payment. The expression was also the title of a Russian film in the 1980s directed by Vladimir Menshov.
The Moscow metro has a total of 182 stations and has nine million passengers using it on a daily basis. This is more than London and New York subways combined. At peak times the interval between trains is just 1.5 minutes and is considered as the most beautiful underground on the earth due to its elegant architecture with art, murals, mosaics, and elaborate chandeliers. Since its opening, Moscow Metro did not work only once on October 16, 1941.
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Moscow is home to Europe’s largest botanical garden: The Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences is. Founded in April 1945, this place presents 18000 plants and includes some beautiful parks and gardens.
Moscow is also home to the largest Library in Europe: The Russian State Library. Formerly known as Lenin Library during the Cold War or Lennon Bitlioteka in the 1970s, this library has 43 million objects to research including dissertations, sound recordings, sheet music, rare books, newspapers and maps.
Even before being the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin was greatly admired. When 20 of his peers in the Soviet Space Programme were asked to anonymously vote on who should be the first man sent to space, all but three said Gagarin. When he died, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong left medals awarded to the Soviet space explorer on the surface of the moon and a crater on the far side of the moon was named after him. His ashes have been buried at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, where astronauts of all nationalities come to lay flowers before their own space flight.
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The Neglinnaya River in Moscow is an underground river. It used to flow freely for centuries but due to flooding, it was diverted into a tunnel and the old portion was filled in.
According to myth, the police chief Lavrentiy Beria would kidnap beautiful women and murder them the Tunisian Embassy in Moscow. Now the Embassy believed to be haunted by the ghosts of these women. Haunting occurrences include footsteps being echoed through the building and papers locked up in a safe ending up being scattered across the room. These events have frightened diplomats so much that they have suggested moving the Embassy to a new building.
Every year, Russia celebrates Maslenitsa (pancake week) that is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent and involves making pancakes and crepes while avoiding consuming meat. In 2017, a Moscow-based flour company JSC MAFKA went that extra mile by serving a record-breaking 12,716 pancakes. This amount of pancakes were made by 16 professional chefs, who worked a nonstop eight hours flipping pancakes.
Moscow’s stray dogs must have street smarts to survive. This includes hopping on and off the trains of the metro. They have learnt this by identifying metro stops from the tannoy announcements with some befriending the security guards. They also keep the rat population down.
A mysterious Russian radio signal known as UVB-76 has been transmitting continuously since 1982. Nobody knows who is sending the signal but that it is coming from a location near Moscow. UVB-76 makes a buzzing sound 25 times a minute hence its nickname The Buzzer. Furthermore, a string of random names and numbers are broadcasted every few years such as the coded message on Christmas Eve 1997: Ya UVB-76, Ya UVB-76. 180 08 BROMAL 74 27 99 14. Boris, Roman, Olga, Mikhail, Anna, Larisa. 7 4 2 7 9 9 1 4.
Red Square in Moscow is the most famous area in Russia but what you mightn’t know is that it is not named after the colour red or named as an association to communism. Instead the name came from ‘krasnyi’, which translated to beautiful at the time of the Square’s naming in the mid-1600s, but nowadays the word refers to the colour red.
A party in 1935 at the American ambassador’s home in Moscow involved a bear getting drunk on champagne and 100 zebra finches escaping from an aviary flying around the house. Meanwhile in 1964, at the Dutch embassy in Moscow, two Siamese cats found microphones hidden by Russian spies.
Photo Credit: Panther via Wikimedia Commons
The Hotel Rossiya in Moscow was once the largest hotel in the world before its demolition. It had 3,200 rooms which included a nightclub, a post office, a movie theatre, a health club, and a police station with jail cells.
Tret’yakovskiy is the most expensive street in Moscow offering the crème de la crème of fashion world including Prada, Tiffany, Gucci, Armani, Lil Sander, Brioni, and Chopard.
Written by: Diarmuid Crowley from StayPlanet