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|Moscow, the Capital of Russia|
In the early 19th century the prominent Russian historian Nikolay Karamzin said: "If you want to know Russia go to Moscow." By the end of the 20th century we have every reason to repeat these words.
It is the city where every stone breathes history.
Moscow was founded in 1147 by the Prince of Suzdal, Jury Dolgoruky. Although there were settlements on the site of modern city long before 1147, this was the year when Moscow was first mentioned in the written records. Moscow has the priority right to be the capital of the Russian State. Its wise founder built it in the middle of a densely populated country. It is protected by rivers and a fortress. In the opinion of many scientists the city will never lose its significance and the leading role in the development of the country.
Moscow, like ancient Rome, stands on seven hills. The principle is the Borovitsky, the hill on which the Kremlin stands.
Moscow's early architecture was simple but expressive. The larger part of the city was occupied by private houses made of wood. But such city's structures as fortress walls, bridges, churches and cathedrals were made of brick and white stone decorated with ceramic. Eventually these buildings crested Moscow's architectural image of a city of white stone.
Large-scale stone construction was performed during the reign of Catherine the Great. Several first-class foreign architects were invited to build a number of architectural monuments in Western style. Some of them have survived to our days and are carefully preserved by the city authorities.
In 1812 during Napoleon's invasion a terrible fire raged in the city for several days. It was calculated that more than 7,000 buildings were destroyed and the city's central area was completely gone. This disaster, however, prompted a real housing boom. Standard projects had to be used to facilitate rapid restoration of the city and preserve the city's architectural uniformity. This task was successfully carried out. As a result a great number of stone houses with much better facilities appeared in the city. They were completely different from those of the previous years.
As the time passed, the city's boundaries expanded considerably. New dwelling districts and industrial enterprises were built on the outskirts of the city.
A major feature of Moscow's present development is the establishment of the industries requiring highly-skilled labour, and the branches producing high-quality apparatus, as well as the development of new technologies and know-how.
Alongside industrial development much attention is paid by the city administration to the construction of cultural, educational institutions and sports facilities.
In recent years the population of Moscow reached 10 million and it is still growing. This resulted in large-scale migration of people. Muscovites move from one district to another, when they get new flats and for other reasons. All that calls for further development and improvement of the city's transport services. Transport is a serious problem for all large cities of the world. The capitals of major states are often unable to solve it. Moscow also has a transport problem. The most convenient means of transport in Moscow is, of course, the Metro. Besides it there are buses, trolley-buses and trams. The total length of their routes is constantly increasing. But nevertheless there is permanent need for new and more comfortable means of transport.
Roads constitute another aspect of the transport problem. Having reconstructed many of the existing streets and roads, the city authorities started to build new roads which are to link several city districts between the Moscow Circular Highway and the Sadovoye Ring Road.
So instead of the traditional monocentric system the city gets polycentric planning according to which Moscow complex zones are united by a system of general city centre.
The territory within Sadovoye Ring Road will retain its significance as a historical, cultural, educational and administrative public centre, the seat of the Government and the Parliament. All the valuable architectural monuments as well as parks and old streets with their unique buildings will remain untouched.
Moscow today is an enormous city whose infrastructure is traditional for every megapolis with first-rate hotels, restaurants, theatres, exhibition halls, shops and gigantic transport arteries. But in spirit Moscow remains its old self, open, hospitable and festive, and, consequently, has the right, as ever, to be called the heart of Russia.
1. Find in the test a passage describing Moscow's present development and translate it into Russian.
2. Read aloud the passage you've translated. (The approximate time of reading is 45 seconds.)
3. Find some key words to speak about Moscow nowadays.
4. Skim the text to understand what it is about Time your reading. It is good if you can read it for 5 minutes (80 words per minute).
5. Переведите на английский язык:
В соответствии с письменными источниками Москва была основана в 1147 году князем Юрием Долгоруким и вскоре стала столицей России. Крепости, мосты, церкви и соборы были первыми памятниками русской архитектуры, на которую оказала влияние западная архитектура в период правления Екатерины Великой.
Масштабное строительство развернулось после пожара Москвы в эпоху нашествия Наполеона.
В настоящее время развитие промышленности и рост населения определяют дальнейшее развитие города.
Несмотря на развитие полицентричной системы города, исторический центр сохраняет свое значение как политический и культурный центр.
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