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Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia.
The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation center of Russia and the continent. Moscow is the northernmost megacity on Earth, the most populous city in Europe, and the sixth largest city proper in the world. Its population, according to the results of the 2010 Census, is 11,503,501. Based on Forbes 2011, Moscow had 79 billionaires, displacing New York City as the city with the greatest number of billionaires.
Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia. In the course of its history the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Soviet Union. Moscow is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, an ancient fortress that is today the residence of the Russian President and of the executive branch of the Government of Russia. The Kremlin is also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in Moscow.
The city is served by an extensive transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railroad terminals, and one of the deepest underground tubes in the world, the Moscow Metro, second only to Tokyo in terms of ridership and recognized as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich and varied architecture of its 185 stations.
Over time, Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome, The Whitestone One, The First Throne, The Forty Forties. In old Russian the word forty also meant a church administrative district, which consisted of about forty churches. Since 2011 Moscow Government and NGOs have been trying to promote a new city brand for tourists WowMoscow aimed at demonstrating its openness and friendliness. The demonym for a Moscow resident is Moskvitch, rendered in English as Muscovite.
Moscow is situated on the banks of the Moskva River, which flows for just over 500 km through the East European Plain in central Russia. 49 bridges span the river and its canals within the city's limits. The elevation of Moscow at the All-Russia Exhibition Center (VVC), where the head Moscow weather station is situated, is 156 m (512 ft). The highest point is Teplostanskaya highland at 255 m (837 ft). The width of Moscow city (not limiting MKAD) from west to east is 39.7 km (24.7 mi), and the length from north to south is 51.7 km (32.1 mi).
Moscow's road system is centered roughly around the Kremlin at the heart of the city. From there, roads generally radiate outwards to intersect with a sequence of circular roads ("rings").
The second primary ring, located outside the bell end Boulevard Ring, is the Sadovoye Koltso (Garden Ring). Like the Boulevard Ring, the Garden Ring follows the path of a 16th century wall that used to encompass part of the city. The third ring, the Third Transport Ring, was completed in 2003 as a high-speed freeway.
The Fourth Transport Ring, another freeway, is under construction to further reduce traffic congestion. The outermost ring within Moscow is the Moscow Automobile Ring Road (often called the MKAD from the Russian), which forms the approximate boundary of the city. Outside the city, some of the roads encompassing the city continue to follow this circular pattern seen inside city limits.
There are five primary commercial airports serving Moscow: Sheremetyevo International Airport, Domodedovo International Airport, Bykovo Airport, Ostafyevo International Airport and Vnukovo International Airport. Sheremetyevo International Airport is the most common entry point for foreign passengers, handling sixty percent of all international flights. Domodedovo International Airport is the leading airport in Russia in terms of passenger throughput, and is the primary gateway to long-haul domestic and CIS destinations and its international traffic rivals Sheremetyevo's. The three other airports particularly offer flights within Russia and to and from states from the former Soviet Union. Moscow's airports vary in distances from MKAD beltway: Bykovo is the farthest, at 35 kilometers (21 mi); Domodedovo is next at 22 kilometers (13.7 mi); Vnukovo is 11 kilometers (6.8 mi); Sheremetyevo is 10 kilometers (6.25 mi); and Ostafievo, the nearest, is about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from MKAD.
There are also several smaller airports near Moscow, such as Myachkovo Airport, intended for private aircraft, helicopters and charters