You haven’t really travelled to Russia if you don’t visit The Red Square while you’re in the country. It is one of the most popular tourism spots that people associate with Russia. Why so? And why should travelers visit it?
About The Red Square
Red Square is the main square of Moscow, located between the Moscow Kremlin (to the west) and Kitay-Gorod (to the east). It goes to the banks of the Moskva River through the gentle Vasilievsky Descent. The area stretches along the northeast wall of the Kremlin, from the Kremlin passage and the Voskresensky Gates passage to the Vasilyevsky descent, overlooking the Kremlin embankment. Nikolskaya Street, Ilyinka and Varvarka depart east of Red Square. The Moscow Kremlin is located along the western side of the squarealong the east – Upper Trading Rows and Middle Trading Rows. It is part of a single ensemble with the Moscow Kremlin, but historically it is part of Kitay-Gorod.
On Red Square, there is Lobnoe Mesto, a monument to Minin and Pozharsky, the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin, and a necropolis near the Kremlin wall. In the northern part of the square are the Historical Museum and Kazan Cathedral, in the southern – Pokrovsky Cathedral. The architectural ensemble is under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
During the ancient times, the square served as a trading place, where for many centuries in a row temporary and permanent trading rows were erected. In Soviet times, military parades and demonstrations took place on the square. After the collapse of the USSR, it began to be used for public events and concerts. The total measurement of the square is; length – 330 meters, width – 75 meters, area – 24,750 m² and paved with paving from Crimean gabbro-diabase.
The Main Attraction of Moscow
Red Square is located in the very center of the capital of the Russian Federation and is the most famous and significant area of the country. Its foundation was laid at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. And although it is several hundred years younger than Moscow, today it is impossible to imagine the capital without it. It is from here that the distance to all cities of Russia is counted. Here are the places you can visit while you’re on the square.
1. St. Basil’s Cathedral
Full name: Cathedral of the Protection of the Holy Virgin. The architecture of the temple is said to be the signature of Russian architecture that you can easily find on postcards. This cathedral was erected in the middle of the 16th century by order of the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible. It was originally known as Trinity. In 1588, the Church of St. Basil was attached to him. During the reign of the Soviets, the Church was threatened with demolition, the bells were removed, services were stopped, and during the Great Patriotic War it was closed. Nowadays, the temple is a museum, is under restoration, and divine services are again restored.
2. Historical Museum
It is located in the northern part of Red Square. It was founded by order of Emperor Alexander II in the second half of the 19th century. The new building was to be built in the style of Russian architecture of the sixteenth century and fit into the prevailing appearance of Red Square. In 1875, the architect V.O. Sherwood and the engineer A.A. Semenov began construction. In 1878, the architect A.P. Popov headed the construction. The construction of the building itself lasted until 1881. The museum started to operate in May 1883. Since 1996 it’s been the largest museum in Russia.
3. Mausoleum of Lenin
The Lenin Mausoleum was built near the Kremlin wall. Today this building serves as the tomb of Lenin. The first version of the mausoleum was temporary and built on January 27, 1924 (actually on the day of V. I. Lenin’s funeral) from wood. The second mausoleum was also built of wood, but the third option (modern) is made of reinforced concrete, brick and granite. Interestingly, during the war with the Nazis, in the mausoleum of I.V. Lenin was not his body. In 1973, a bulletproof sarcophagus was installed. Since 2013, restoration work has been carried out in the mausoleum.
4. GUM Department Store
The main department store is located in Kitay-Gorod, parallel to the Kremlin wall. The first attempt to build a shopping center was under the reign of Catherine II, but it burned down in 1812. From the time of the fire until 1886, the so-called Upper Trading Rows were in extremely terrible condition and were closed the same year. In 1889, construction began on a new building for shopping malls designed by A.N. Pomerantsev. Its opening took place on December 2, 1893. In 1953, the building became known as the State Department Store. Now this building is privatized, but is still called the State.
5. Ice Rink
The rink was first built on Red Square in December 2000. Then, its dimensions were 15 by 30 meters. For those who wanted to skate, all amenities were arranged such as buffets and changing rooms. The territory adjacent to the ice rink was also made, a Christmas tree was installed along with two screens to entertain visitors and many ice sculptures.
Since 2006, an ice rink on Red Square has been installed every year. Its value has been significantly increased since the year 2000; now it is 2800 m2, and approximately 5000 visitors visit it in one day.
Since the Kremlin is the residence of the president and an important strategic object, professional photography is prohibited in all territories adjacent to it. This order was issued in 1993 and is valid to this day. However, amateur shooting on smartphones and cameras with 70 mm lenses is allowed.