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AQA A-Level Biology paper 3 sample essay - Cycles in Biology

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This essay explores the importance and prevalence of cycles in biology. Revision of this material will be essential as a guide for how to approach the AQA A-Level Paper 3 and will improve your knowledge and ability to link your knowledge across all aspects of the course. This is beneficial as the t...

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biology essay cycles

Book Title: AQA Biology A Level Student Book

Author(s): Glenn Toole, Susan Toole

  • Edition: april 2015
  • ISBN: 9780198351771

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  • Unit Unit 4 BIOL4 - Populations and environment

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Cycles in Biology.

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Cycles in Biology

A cycle is an interval during which a recurring sequence of events occurs. Cycles are a hugely relevant component of biology. Practically everything has to be recycled as every resource, to some extent, is a non-renewable resource.  There are cycles in all aspects of biology that can be explored.

Life-materials are the basic particles of Earth, called elements, that all living organisms build their bodies from. They are sometimes called "bio-elements." All living organisms are made primarily of six elements, all in the same proportion: Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus and Sulphur. Most organisms require small, often tiny, amounts of additional such as iron, copper and iodine. Most plants require a total of twenty-three different nutrients to flourish.

Essential nutrients are limited. We use them for energy to power our bodies (food for metabolism) and as materials to build and renew our bodies. We renew or rebuild our bodies over and over, every day. Nutrients are all recycled so organisms can share them over time. This sharing process is called the Nutrient Cycle. These nutrients have been shared over and over for billions of years. Every organism alive on earth is made of nutrients that have been used and re-used over and over again. Certain human activities may altar the nutrient cycles.  

Living organisms continually release nutrients from their bodies, in the form of wastes, which are really by-products or leftovers from metabolism. Life takes every opportunity to be creative. One organism's wastes become another organism's nutrients. Every animal on Earth releases carbon dioxide as they breathe. It acts as a bi-product, and useless to them; but to every plant on Earth, that carbon dioxide is a necessary nutrient for photosynthesis and continuing life. The plants, in turn, release oxygen into the air, which is necessary for animals. Life on Earth is a balanced process of exchanging each other's leftovers for mutual benefit. Organisms release all their nutrients when they die and are decomposed by fungi and bacteria. Gradually, every part of an organism decomposes and returns to the Nutrient Cycle.

Water is a molecule made of two atoms of Hydrogen (H) and one atom of Oxygen (O). Its chemical formula is H 2 O. Water is reused over and over again. This recycling of Earth's water has been going on for billions of years and is named The Water Cycle. Heat from the sun changes liquid surface water (oceans, lakes, wetlands rivers) into gas water vapour, which rises into the air, known as evaporation. Above the ocean and rain forests, water vapour gathers into clouds. Winds move the clouds of vapour. The clouds release their water in liquid precipitation (rain) or crystal precipitation (snow). The water runs off, or soaks into the ground, and eventually, some of it flows into the ocean, where the cycle is repeated.

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Another huge source of water vapour in the air is plants. This is called   transpiration. Transpiration is the evaporation of water from plants. It occurs chiefly at the leaves while their stomata are open for the passage of CO 2  and O 2  during photosynthesis. Air that is not fully saturated with water vapour (100% relative humidity) will dry the surfaces of cells with which it comes in contact, so the photosynthesising leaf loses substantial amount of water by evaporation. This transpired water must be replaced by the transport of more water from the soil to the leaves through the xylem of the roots

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The Carbon Cycle is a complex series of processes through which all of the carbon atoms in existence rotate. All life is based on the element carbon . Carbon is the major chemical constituent of most organic matter, from fossil fuels to the complex molecules (DNA and RNA) that control genetic reproduction in organisms yet carbon is not one of the most abundant elements within the Earth's crust. Carbon is stored on our planet in major sinks. It is stored as organic molecules in living and dead organisms found in the biosphere; as the gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; as organic matter in soils; in the lithosphere as fossil fuels and sedimentary rock deposits such as limestone, dolomite and chalk; and in the oceans as dissolved atmospheric carbon dioxide and as calcium carbonate shells in marine organisms.

Ecosystems gain most of their carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A number of autotrophic organisms have specialized mechanisms that allow for absorption of this element into their cells. These organisms use photosynthesis to chemically convert the carbon dioxide to carbon-based sugar molecules. These molecules can then be chemically modified by these organisms through the metabolic addition of other elements to produce more complex compounds like proteins, cellulose, and amino acids.

Carbon dioxide enters the waters of the ocean by diffusion. Once dissolved in seawater, the carbon dioxide can remain as is or can be converted into carbonate or bicarbonate. Certain forms of sea life produce calcium carbonate. This substance is used to produce shells and other body parts by organisms. When these organisms die, their shells and body parts sink to the ocean floor where they accumulate as carbonate-rich deposits. After long periods of time, these deposits are physically and chemically altered into sedimentary rocks. Ocean deposits are by far the biggest sinks of carbon on the planet.

Carbon is released from ecosystems as carbon dioxide gas by the process of respiration. Respiration takes place in both plants and animals and involves the breakdown of carbon-based organic molecules into carbon dioxide gas and some other compound by products.

Carbon is stored in the lithosphere in both inorganic and organic forms. Inorganic deposits of carbon in the lithosphere include fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, oil shale, and carbonate based sedimentary deposits like limestone. Organic forms of carbon in the lithosphere include litter, organic matter, and substances found in soils. Some carbon dioxide is released from the interior of the lithosphere by volcanoes.

The nitrogen cycle is the complex series of reactions by which nitrogen is slowly but continually recycled in the atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere. The nitrogen cycle represents one of the most important nutrient cycles found in the earths ecosystems and almost all of the nitrogen found in any ecosystem originally came from the atmosphere. Nitrogen is used by living organisms to produce a number of complex organic molecules such as amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids. The largest store of nitrogen is found in the atmosphere where it exists as a gas. Other major stores of nitrogen include organic matter in soil and the oceans. Despite its abundance in the atmosphere, nitrogen is often the most limiting nutrient for plant growth as they can only take up nitrogen in certain forms. Most plants obtain the nitrogen they need as inorganic nitrate from the soil solution. Animals receive the required nitrogen they need for metabolism, growth, and reproduction by the consumption of living or dead organic matter containing molecules composed partially of nitrogen.

In most ecosystems nitrogen is primarily stored in living and dead organic matter. This organic nitrogen is converted into inorganic forms when it re-enters the biogeochemical cycle via decomposition. Decomposers, found in the upper soil layer, chemically modify the nitrogen found in organic matter.

Eutrophication alters the way in which the nutrient cycles occur. Natural eutrophication is the process by which lakes gradually age and become more productive. It normally takes thousands of years to progress. However, humans, through their various cultural activities, have greatly accelerated this process in thousands of lakes around the globe. Water pollution occurs caused by excessive plant nutrients. Humans add excessive amounts of plant nutrients (primarily phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon) to streams and lakes in various ways. Runoff from agricultural fields, field lots, urban lawns, and golf courses is one source of these nutrients. Untreated, or partially treated, domestic sewage is another major source. Sewage was a particular source of phosphorus to lakes when detergents contained large amounts of phosphates. The phosphates acted as water softeners to improve the cleaning action, but they also proved to be powerful stimulants to algal growth when they were washed or flushed into lakes.

The excessive growth of algae promoted by these phosphates changed water quality in many lakes. This led to oxygen depletion resulting in the death of many fish. Species resistant to these conditions replaced the native fish. Beaches and shorelines were fouled by masses of rotting, stinking algae. A means to control this problem became a paramount need. Testing concluded that phosphorus was the key nutrient for the control of eutropication.

There are a number of cycles that take place in humans. The menstrual cycle is a cycle that only occurs in females. It involves the preparation of the uterus each month for a fertilised egg. Hormones control the process that occurs and forms a monthly cycle. The hypothalamus is a gland in the brain responsible for regulating the body's thirst, hunger; sleep patterns, libido and endocrine functions. It releases the chemical messenger Follicle Stimulating Hormone Releasing Factor (FSH-RF) to tell the pituitary gland in the brain to secrete Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and a little Leutenising Hormone (LH) into the bloodstream, which cause the follicles to begin to mature.

The maturing follicles then release another hormone, oestrogen. As the follicles mature over a period of about seven days, they secrete more and more oestrogen into the bloodstream. Oestrogen causes the lining of the uterus to thicken. When the oestrogen level reaches a certain point it causes the hypothalamus to release Leutenising Hormone Releasing Factor (LH-RF) causing the pituitary to release a large amount of Leutenising Hormone (LH). This surge of LH triggers the mature follicle to burst open and release an egg. This is called ovulation.

Inside the Fallopian tube, the egg is carried along by tiny, hair-like projections, called "cilia" toward the uterus. Fertilization occurs if sperm are present as the live egg reaches the uterus.

If fertilisation occurs, the female becomes pregnant and initially the corpus luteum secretes sufficient progesterone to maintain the uterus lining and sustain the developing embryo.  After this, the placenta takes over, where progesterone (and some oestrogen) from the placenta, maintain the uterine lining and inhibit the development of further egg production, so during pregnancy the menstrual cycle stops as the specific hormones are not produced. At the end of pregnancy, progesterone levels fall, and high oestrogen levels trigger the onset of labour. After pregnancy, the menstrual cycle resumes as the correct hormones are being produced for its onset.

The Calvin cycle is a series of biochemical, enzyme-mediated reactions during which atmospheric carbon dioxide is reduced and incorporated into organic molecules, eventually some of this forms sugars . In eukaryotes, this occurs in the stroma of the chloroplast.

Krebs cycle or the citric acid cycle or tricarboxylic acid cycle, occurs in mitochondria, is the common pathway to completely oxidize fuel molecules, which mostly is acetylcholine, the product from the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate. It enters the cycle and passes ten steps of reactions that yield energy and CO2

The Krebs cycle is also known as the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and as the citric acid cycle. The Krebs cycle takes place in the mitochondria and consists of eight steps. The first reaction of the cycle occurs when acetylcholine transfers its two-carbon acetyl group to the four-carbon compound oxaloacetate, forming citrate, a six-carbon compound. The citrate then goes through a series of chemical transformations, losing first one and then a second carboxyl group as carbon dioxide. Most of the energy made available by the oxidative steps of the cycle is transferred as energy-rich electrons to NAD+, forming NADH. For each acetyl group that enters the Krebs cycle, three molecules of NAD+ are reduced to NADH. In Step 6, electrons are transferred to the electron acceptor FAD rather than to NAD+.

In one turn of the citric acid cycle, two molecules of carbon dioxide and eight hydrogen atoms are removed, forming three NADH and one FADH2. The carbon dioxide produced accounts for the two carbon atoms of the acetyl group that entered the citric acid cycle. These hydrogens come from water molecules that are added during the reactions of the cycle.

Because two acetylcholine molecules are produced from each glucose molecule, the cycle must turn twice to process each glucose. At the end of each turn of the cycle, the four-carbon oxaloacetate is left, and the cycle is ready for another turn. After two turns of the cycle, the original glucose molecule has lost all of its carbons and may be regarded as having been completely consumed. Only one molecule of ATP is produced directly with each turn of the citric acid cycle. The rest of the ATP that is formed during aerobic respiration is produced by the electron transport system.

Cycles in Biology.

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The influence of anthropogenic factors on reproduction of Rana temporaria and Rana arvalis

  • Published: 16 February 2017
  • Volume 43 , pages 654–663, ( 2016 )

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  • E. A. Severtsova 1 ,
  • A. A. Kormilitsin 1 &
  • A. S. Severtsov 1  

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Studies of spawning water bodies in the city of Moscow have shown that the urban populations of common ( Rana temporaria ) and moor ( R. arvalis ) frogs are small compared with suburban populations, and their individuals lead a hidden mode of life. The recorded increase in the fecundity of females from several populations of the city of Moscow may be accompanied by an increase or the preservation of the diameter of eggs as compared with the same indicator for suburban populations. The populations in which the females produced many small eggs died out during the study period. The most prosperous populations are urban populations of brown frogs whose females spawned eggs of various sizes. We consider the formation of these clutches as a manifestation of the bet-hedging strategy compensating for mortality in adverse and unstable environmental conditions.

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Original Russian Text © E.A. Severtsova, A.A. Kormilitsin, A.S. Severtsov, 2015, published in Zoologicheskii Zhurnal, 2015, Vol. 94, No. 2, pp. 192–202.

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Severtsova, E.A., Kormilitsin, A.A. & Severtsov, A.S. The influence of anthropogenic factors on reproduction of Rana temporaria and Rana arvalis . Biol Bull Russ Acad Sci 43 , 654–663 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1062359016070165

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Issue Date : December 2016

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1134/S1062359016070165

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How to explore Moscow in 1 day on 2 wheels: 5 cycling routes

Riding a bike from a city public bike rental station along the embankment of Muzeon Arts Park.

Riding a bike from a city public bike rental station along the embankment of Muzeon Arts Park.

Moscow cycling routes. / Stepan Zharky

Along the moskva river - 29km.

Nagatinskaya Embankment – Red Square – Taynitsky Garden - Kremlin Embankment - Cathedral of Christ the Savior – Luzhniki – The Alley of Fame - Krasnaya Presnya Park - Moscow International Business Center ( Moscow City )

Stepan Zharky

This scenic route along the embankment of the Moskva River will take you away from the city’s infamous traffic. Start at Nagatinskaya Embankment, one of the most beautiful in the capital due to the fascinating architecture dotted along it.

Cycle onto Novospassky Bridge and cross onto the other side of the embankment before riding over to Ustinsky Bridge. Jump off your bike and take the stairs down.

Once on level ground, pedal past two of Moscow’s most iconic landmarks - Red Square and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - then on to Luzhniki.

Follow signs to the Novodevichya and Savvinskaya Embankments.

Ride in the direction of Smolenskaya and Krasnopresnenskaya Metro stations and you’ll eventually reach the Moscow International Business Center (Moscow City) and its stunning array of skyscrapers.

Soviet grandeur - 13km

VDNKh - Moscow Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences - Rock Garden - Ostankino Park - Ostankino Palace

Stepan Zharky

If the sights and sounds of the city center are wearing you down, head to VDNKh. It’s a unique park, rich in history and architecture. The complex includes more than 500 permanent structures and 49 of them are objects of cultural heritage. Cycle through the park before arriving at the Moscow Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences, right next to VDNKh. Then follow signs to the Rock Garden, also referred as the Moscow’s “stone jungle.”

Ostankino Park is the next stop and it’s known for its wide avenues, ponds, and lush greenery. Cycle a little further and you’ll come to some beautiful examples of 17th and 18th century architecture. Ostankino Palace is a unique Russian monument made entirely of wood and amazingly it’s retained its original interiors.

Bright lights, big city - 12km

Moscow International Business Center ( Moscow City ) - Radisson Royal Hotel (Hotel Ukraine) - Square of Europe – Observation deck - Ministry of Foreign Affairs  - Arbat Street – Red Square

Stepan Zharky

Try this route at night and you'll be blown away. The Russian capital is a city of contrasts: Set off from the Taras Shevchenko Embankment and soak up the striking modernity of Moscow City before cruising past the classical, Stalinist magnificence of the Hotel Ukraine.

Pass by both the Berezhkovskaya and Vorobyevskaya Embankments and take a break on the observation deck at Sparrow Hills. From here you can see all of the Seven Sisters skyscrapers. Next, ride on down to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then to Arbat Street, which will lead you to an unforgettable view of the Kremlin and Red Square.

Right in the capital’s heart - 9km

Rozhdestvensky Boulevard - Tsvetnoy Boulevard - Strastnoy Boulevard - Novopushkinskiy square - Tverskaya Street - New Arbat Avenue - Patriarch Ponds - Garden Ring - Moscow Hermitage Garden

Stepan Zharky

This route takes you right through the heart of the city center. Glide past some of Moscow’s most iconic sights. Start at Pushkin Square and bike over to the Government of Moscow building. Then head to New Arbat Avenue and take a rest at Patriarch Ponds. Visit the Bulgakov Museum and take a look at the Moscow Satire Theater and Mossovet Theater. Continue biking towards Sadovo-Trimfalnyy Square and follow the signs to Moscow’s Hermitage Garden. Here you can enjoy a cool beer in the shade.

Chistyye Prudy to Sokolniki Park - 7km

Ustyinsky  Square -  Chistyye  Prudy - Sretensky Boulevard - Sovremennik Theater - Komsomolskaya Square - Sokolniki Park

Stepan Zharky

This route starts off at the Ustinsky Bridge that stretches over Moskva River. After enjoying the beautiful views bike northeast to Yauzsky Boulevard, continue onto Pokrovsky Boulevard, and then cycle to Chistoprudny Boulevard. Your first stop will be Chistyye Prudy – a park in the city center surrounding a charming pond and pavilion. There are a number of sculptures and monuments here that have been glorified countless times in both literary and musical works.

Once you’ve had your fill of Moscow’s “green island,” pedal in the direction of Turgenevskaya Metro - you’ll end up at Academician Sakharov Avenue. Then continue to Komsomolskaya Metro followed by Rusakovskaya Street. Turn left and follow signs to one of the city’s most bike-friendly parks: Sokolniki.

Read more:  Wheels of change: Russia’s cycling revolution gathers speed

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Moscow Facts & Worksheets

Moscow, russian moskva, is the capital and most populated city of russia, situated in the westward part of the country., search for worksheets, download the moscow facts & worksheets.

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Table of Contents

Moscow , Russian Moskva, is the capital and most populated city of Russia , situated in the westward part of the country. Moscow is not just the political capital city of Russia but also the industrial, cultural, scientific, and educational capital. For more than 600 years, Moscow also has been the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church.

See the fact file below for more information on the Moscow or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Moscow worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.

Key Facts & Information

Description.

  • The city area is about 30 km in diameter and the population reaches to almost 10 million people.
  • Moscow was first mentioned in the chronicles of 1147, where it played an important role in Russian history.
  • The people of Moscow are known as Muscovites.
  • Moscow is famous for its architecture, especially its historical buildings such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral .
  • Moscow is a city with the most money in Russia and the third biggest budget in the world.
  • Moscow began as a medieval city and developed into what was known as the Grand Duchy of Moscow, an administrative region ruled by a prince.
  • Moscow is where all Russia’s tensions and inequalities meet to coexist, producing a unique feeling of a city that looks European but feels somewhat Asian in its mood and intensity.
  • In 1147 Moscow was called Moskov, which sounds closer to its current name. Moscow was derived from the Moskva river, on which the city is located. The Finno-Ugric tribes, who originally inhabited the territory, named the river Mustajoki, in English: Black River, which was presumably how the name of the city originated.
  • Several theories were proposed on the origin of the name of the river however linguists cannot come to any agreement and those theories haven’t been proven yet.
  • The first known reference to Moscow dates from 1147 as a meeting place of Yuri Dolgoruky and Sviatoslav Olgovich. Muscovites today consider Prince Yury Dolgoruky their city’s founding father, but it was only recorded that he dined with friends in the town.
  • In 1156, led by Knjaz Yury Dolgoruky, the town was barricaded with a timber fence and a moat. In the course of the Mongol invasion of Rus, the Mongols under Batu Khan burned the city to the ground and killed its inhabitants.
  • Nevertheless, Moscow was restored and became more important. Yet the Mongols came back in 1382 and burned Moscow City again.
  • Still, Moscow shortly recovered and In the 15th century, it probably gained a population of about 50,000. But, unfortunately, in 1571 the Crimean Tatars burned Moscow again.
  • By 1712, Tsar Peter the Great decided to move his capital to St. Petersburg from Moscow. With this, Moscow began a period of dissolution. In the 1770s Moscow suffered an outbreak of the bubonic plague. But still, Moscow University was successfully founded in 1755 and at the beginning of the 19th century, Moscow was prospering again.
  • Arbat Street at that time was also established. But then, Napoleon invaded Russia. The Muscovites, the retreating party, set their own city on fire by 1812 and it was rebuilt completely at the beginning of the 19th century.
  • During 1917 the Communists started a revolution in which they imposed a totalitarian government in Russia. By 1918, Lenin transferred his administration to Moscow.
  • After Lenin, the tyrant Josef Stalin governed the city. Under his regime, several historic buildings in the city were destroyed. Nevertheless, the first line of the Metro opened in 1935.
  • By June 1941, the Germans had invaded Russia and had arrived on the outskirts of Moscow by December. As they arrived, they suddenly  turned back.
  • After the Second World War , Moscow continued prospering even though many nations boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980.
  • Fortunately, Communism collapsed in Russia in 1991 and in 1997 Moscow celebrated its 850th anniversary.
  • Moscow is situated on the banks of the Moskva River, which flows through the East European Plain in central Russia. Teplostanskaya highland is the city’s highest point at 255 meters (837 feet). The width of Moscow city (not limiting MKAD) from west to east is 39.7 km (24.7 mi), and the length from north to south is 51.8 km (32.2 mi).
  • Moscow has a humid continental climate with long, cold winters usually lasting from mid-November through the end of March, and warm summers .
  • Moscow is the financial center of Russia and home to the country’s largest banks and many of its largest companies, such as natural gas giant Gazprom.
  • The Cherkizovsky marketplace was the largest marketplace in Europe , with a daily turnover of about thirty million dollars and about ten thousand venders from different countries including China and India .
  • Many new business centers and office buildings have been built in recent years, but Moscow still experiences shortages in office space.
  • With this, many former industrial and research facilities are being reconstructed to become suitable for office use.
  • In totality, economic stability has developed in recent years. But, crime and corruption still hinder business growth.
  • Saint Basil’s Cathedral is famed as the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed amongst the locals. It served as one of the crucial landmarks of Moscow.
  • Location: Krasnaya Square, 2, Moscow 109012, Russia
  • Moscow Kremlin serves as the home in which all these tourist sites reside. It encompasses almost all the famous sightseeing attractions such as the royal residence of the President of Russia.
  • Location: Moscow, Russia
  • Red Square separates the royal citadel of Kremlin from the ancient merchant quarter of Kitai-gorod, one of the most interesting places in Moscow. Bearing the weight of Russia’s history to a great extent, Red Square serves not just as an attraction but as the heart, soul, and symbol of the whole country.
  • Location: Krasnaya Ploshchad, Moscow, Russia

Moscow Worksheets

This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Moscow across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Moscow worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Moscow, Russian Moskva, which is the capital and most populated city of Russia, situated in the westward part of the country. Moscow is not just the political capital city of Russia but also the industrial, cultural, scientific, and educational capital. For more than 600 years, Moscow also has been the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Complete List Of Included Worksheets

  • Moscow Facts
  • Moscow Breaking News
  • Moscow Basic Info
  • Moscow’s Significant Events
  • Moscow Characteristics
  • Populous Cities
  • Sports Facts
  • Moscow Landmarks
  • Symbolization
  • Moscow Slogan

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