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The Moskva River (Russian: река Москва, Москва-река, Moskva-reka) is a river of western Russia. It rises about 140 km (90 mi) west of Moscow, and flows roughly east through the Smolensk and Moscow Oblasts, passing through central Moscow. About 110 km (70 mi) south east of Moscow, at the city of Kolomna, it flows into the Oka River, itself a tributary of the Volga, which ultimately flows into the Caspian Sea.
Moskva and Moscow are two different renderings of the same Russian word Москва. The city is named after the river. Finno-Ugric Merya and Muroma people, who originally inhabited the area, called the river Mustajoki. It has been suggested that the name of the city derives from this term, although several theories exist. To distinguish the river and the city, Russians usually call the river Moskva-reka instead of just Moskva.
The river is 503 km (313 mi) long, with a vertical drop of 155 m (509 ft) (long-term average). The area of its drainage basin is 17,600 km2 (6,800 sq mi). The maximum depth is 3 metres (9.8 ft) above Moscow city limits, and up to 6 metres (20 ft) below it. Normally, it freezes in November–December and begins to thaw around late March. In Moscow, the river freezes occasionally;[contradictory] during an unusually warm winter in 2006–2007, ice began melting on January 25. The absolute water level in downtown Moscow is 120 metres (390 ft) above sea level (long-term average of summer lows after World War II); a historical maximum of 127.25 metres (417.5 ft) above sea level was set by the 1908 flood.
Sources of water
The main tributaries are the Ruza, Istra, Yauza, Pakhra, and Severka rivers. Sources of water are estimated as 61% thaw, 12% rain and 27% subterranean. Since completion of the Moscow Canal (1932–1937), the Moskva River has also collected a share of Upper Volga water. This has enabled reliable commercial shipping, which was previously interrupted by summer droughts (older dams built in 1785, 1836 and 1878 were not effective). The average discharge, including Volga waters, varies from 38 m3/s (1,300 cu ft/s) near Zvenigorod to 250 m3/s (8,800 cu ft/s) at the Oka inlet. The speed of the current, depending on the season, varies from 0.1 m/s (0.33 ft/s) (winter, dams closed) to 1.5–2.0 m/s (4.9–6.6 ft/s) (May, dams open).
Cities and towns
Moscow (Москва́), the capital of Russia, is situated on its banks. The river also flows through the towns of Mozhaysk, Zvenigorod, Zhukovsky, Bronnitsy, Voskresensk, and — at the confluence of the Moskva and Oka — Kolomna. As of 2007, there are 49 bridges across the Moskva River and its canals within Moscow city limits; the first stone bridge, Bolshoi Kamennyi Bridge, was erected in 1692. Within the city, the river is 120–200 metres (390–660 ft) wide, the narrowest point being under the Kremlin walls. Drinking water for the city of Moscow is collected from five stations on the Moskva River and from the Upper Volga reservoirs (north and north-west of the city).
Canals, built within Moscow city limits, have created a number of islands. Some of them have names in Russian, some have none. Major, permanent islands (west to east) are:
- Serebryany Bor. Separated from the mainland in the 1930s.
- Tatarskaya Poyma, commonly known as Mnyovniki. Separated from the mainland in the 1930s
- Balchug Island, also known as Bolotny Ostrov, lying just opposite the Kremlin. The island was formed by the construction of the Vodootvodny Canal in the 1780s, and has no official name in Russian. Moscow residents informally call it "Bolotny Ostrov" (Bog Island) while members of Moscow's English-speaking community refer to it as Balchug.
- One uninhabited island north of Nagatino.
- Three uninhabited islands east of Nagatino, connected by the Pererva dam and lock system.
There is a fleet of river ice-breaker cruisers which ply routes from moorings at the Hotel Ukraine and Gorky Park to the Novospassky Monastery and back. Duration of trips ranges from 1.5 to 3 hours.
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