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City Layout

At Moscow's heart and nearly its geographical center lies the Kremlin, from which the rest of the city has expanded in roughly concentric circles: the Boulevard Ring, the Garden Ring, and the Third Ring. The last circle, the Moscow Ring Road, is the bypass around the city limits. The expansion continues apace and Moscow is now an unwieldy megalopolis of 12 million people encompassing 1,000 sq. km (386 sq. miles) - nearly 10 times bigger than Paris or Manhattan .

The Moscow and Yauza rivers curve through the city, delineating neighborhoods. Visitors are often struck by Moscow 's broad boulevards and vast squares, as well as the city's large swaths of green space (which turns to white space during the 6-month winter). Yet housing remains concentrated in cramped apartment blocks.

All major airports are well out of town. Train stations are scattered around a circle that generally corresponds to the Garden Ring Road and the metro system's Ring Line. Trains from the west arrive at Kievsky station or Belorussky station on the northwest side of town, and trains from the north arrive at Leningradsky station or Rizhky station on the northeast side.

Finding addresses in Russia can be challenging, especially for buildings tucked in a courtyard or down a footpath. Russians usually list the house number after the street name. The number may include dashes or slashes or have an addendum like "building 2" or "wing 3." Big apartment buildings rarely have one central entrance; instead, apartments are reached by separate entrances called podyezdy , making it crucial to know which entrance you need. For example, to find Kutuzovsky Prospekt 7/4, building 3, entrance 1, apartment 16 :

Locate no. 7/4 between nos. 5 and 9 (ignore the "/4"), walk through the parking lot, and search for building no. 3. Then find entrance no. 1 and check the list in the elevator to locate apartment no. 16's floor.

Beware of maps and guidebooks printed before the mid-1990s, which may include the Soviet-era names of many streets and metro stations instead of the new ones.

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