MOSCOW IS THE capital city of the Russian Federation, and although superseded as the official capital during the 18th and 19th centuries, it has dominated Russian politics, culture, and economics since the 14th century. Today, it is largest city and 1 of the largest urban centers in . Geographically, Moscow lies at the center of European Russia, the center of the East European Plain. It lies on both sides of the Moscow River, a tributary of the much larger , a short distance to the east. The Moscow Region is slightly hilly, wooded . The climate is cool: Moderate temperatures in the short summer and bitterly cold in the long, dark winter, when temperatures generally are in the mid-teens F (-8 or -9 degrees C), but occasionally as low as -44 degrees F (-42 degrees C). The city itself is roughly circular, having been built in concentric waves out from the Kremlin, the city’s physical and administrative heart. Most major roads in Moscow either circle or radiate from the Kremlin. The city’s boundary corresponds to the outer ring road situated 10 to 13 mile (17 to 21 kilometer) from the city center, encompassing roughly 350 square mile (900 square kilometer). Much of Russia’s highway and railroad network radiate from this central point for thousands of miles in every direction. Since the 1930s, Moscow has been a port as well, with the Moscow Canal linking the city to the Volga and its vast internal waterway network connecting the to the Baltic. Even during the period when Russia’s Imperial capital was in (1712–1918), Moscow’s location at the center of the empire led to its development as Russia’s center for industry, as well as a focus for the nation’s emerging scientific and artistic communities. Today, Moscow is home to the Academy of Science and numerous colleges and universities, Russia’s 2 main newspapers, and some of the most famous theaters and art galleries in the world, including the Bolshoi Theatre and the Tretiakov Gallery.