Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia. In the course of its history the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Soviet Union. Moscow is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, an ancient fortress that is today the residence of the Russian President and of the executive branch of the Government of Russia. The Kremlin is also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in Moscow.
The city is served by an extensive transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railroad terminals, and the Moscow Metro, second only to Tokyo in terms of ridership and recognised as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich and varied architecture of its 182 stations.
Over time, Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), Whitestone (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков). Currently Moscow Government and NGOs try to promote a new city brand WowMoscow aimed at demonstrating its openness and friendliness.
The demonym for a Moscow resident is Moskvitch, rendered in English as Muscovite.