Moscow... The very word has a majestic and powerful resonance. It almost seems to glow with the same brilliance as the golden domes of the city's churches and the burnished frames of their miraculous icons. Moscow's stellar brilliance is symbolic of its historical role as the gatherer of the Russian lands, the first capital where princes and tsars were crowned. Moscow took root in the very heart of the Russian lands and gradually became immortal. In 1812 the city was a sacrifice on the altar of war, yet precipitated the inglorious demise of Napoleons great army. During World War II Moscow suffered a great deal. The battle in the outskirts of Moscow was the first defeat of the Nazis. Although the city was repeatedly burned to the ground, it rose from the ashes each time like the phoenix. For the people of Russia the city was like a burning bush from which the voice of the country's destiny was to be heard in days of great sorrow and rejoicing. The stellar light that surrounds Moscow has never once been extinguished. Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, the bells of the ancient cathedrals, restored to new life, can again be heard ringing out over "great and gold-domed" Moscow. This is the jubilant "voice of time" that resounds with the enormous energy and vigour of the past, while heralding the indubitable attainment of future heights. It is here in the voice of Moscow, as in its image as a whole, that Russia's underlying strength, its confidence in its ability to fulfil its difficult destiny and its bold and imaginative approach to the future lie hidden.