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Russia Guide > Is Moscow in Europe or Asia

Is Moscow in Europe or Asia

While it may seem like an obvious query, it can at times be difficult to find a definitive answer to this question. While Russia is such a massive country it spans both continents but where does its capital city fit in to all of this?

The Border Between Europe and Asia

It’s accepted that the Ural Mountains is the official border between Europe and Asia. Anything to the west of the range is in Europe while on the eastern side, everywhere is considered to be in Asia. The city of Moscow sits firmly to the west of the Urals so whenever anyone asks is Moscow in Europe or Asia, you can say with confidence that the answer is Europe.

A brief history of Moscow

Moscow was established in the 12th century and named after the river that runs through the city today. The first reference to Moscow itself comes in 1147 and after that initial settlement was burned to the ground by invading Mongols in the mid 13th century, Moscow recovered and over the years has enjoyed steady growth to become the magnificent city that it is today. This Asian aspect to Moscow’s history has left an indelible mark on the city.


Moscow sits at the Western point of Russia, close to the country’s borders with Ukraine, Belarus and Estonia and with the Ural Mountains several hundred miles to the east, it is comfortably in the European sector of the country.

In fact, the majority of major Russian cities lie to the east of the Ural Mountain range – the official border with Asia – and St Petersburg, Krasnodar and Kazan are just three of Russia’s larger cities that can be found on the European side.

In the Asian sector of the country, you’ll find the fascinating wilderness that is Siberia along with some major cities such as Novosibirsk and Vladivostok.

Some Moscow facts

Moscow is the sixth largest city in the world and the 2010 census declared a total Moscow population of just over eleven and a half million people. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is the most populous city in Europe.

The records keep tumbling in Moscow and it is now widely known as the richest city in the world – a tile that it has taken from New York. In 2011, a survey by Forbes Magazine showed that there were 79 known billionaires in Moscow, a significantly higher figure than that of its nearest rival.

Vast numbers

The size of the population has led to other notable feats and Moscow has one of the largest transport networks in the world. Its metro system is second only to Japan in terms of the numbers of daily users and its network of 182 stations are fascinating landmarks themselves.

Moscow’s architecture as a whole is another good reason for visiting and famous sites such as the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Tomb are at the heart of the tourist trade in the city.

Overall, Moscow is a vast and fascinating city but as for its geography, you can without fear of contradiction, confirm that it is based in Europe and not Asia.

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