The Red Square

The main square of the Russian capital is popular not only among city guests; Muscovites love it. It is located in the center of Moscow, on the left bank of the river, near the walls of the Moscow Kremlin. Those who came to the Red Square can see with their own eyes the main symbols of the Russian state, which everyone remembers from the pages of school textbooks. Car traffic has been banned here since the mid-1960s. The ample space is paved with stone pavers and is a pedestrian zone.

History of the Red Square

The reason for the appearance of a large area near the Kremlin was a strong fire. This happened during the reign of John III. The wooden buildings of the Great Posad approached the walls of the Kremlin, and in 1493, when a fire broke out, merchants’ houses and shops were almost completely burned. For a long time, a wide strip with a length of almost 250 m remained undeveloped, and they began to call it “Fire”. The south side of this square was limited by a low hill or Vzbobye, and the north part by the Resurrection Gate that leads to Kitai Gorod.

Three paved streets, Nikolskaya, Ilyinka and Varvarka, passed through the spacious Fire from the Kremlin gate. Along them there were small temples and article shops. And in the square itself there were several rows where merchants traded.

Under John IV the Terrible, the square was called “Grande”. Since the mid-16th century, the underdeveloped space in front of the Front Place was called the “Red Square”. And finally, in 1661, the Russian sovereign Alexei Mikhailovich signed a special decree by which said name passed to the remaining part of the square.

At the beginning of the last century, the south of the modern square was full of dense buildings. In the early years of Soviet power, the buildings on Maslyany Lane were demolished and the open space from the south of the Spassky Gate was called “Vasilievskaya Square”. Now the inclined part, which leads to the river, is called “Vasilyevsky Descent”.

Gradually, the country changed and its main square became more open. He began to celebrate not only military parades and May Day demonstrations, but also festivities. Many times the square hosted concerts by Russian stars and artists from abroad, music festivals and forums.

What can be seen around the square

The buildings and temples surrounding the square were erected and remodeled for several centuries until an architectural ensemble of rare beauty was formed. Since 1990, the old square and the buildings around it are protected by UNESCO, as one of the World Heritage sites. In this regard, a large-scale reconstruction is not performed here.

The Kremlin’s battlement with several towers: Nikolskaya, Senate, Spasskaya, Tsarskaya, Nabatnaya and Konstantino-Eleninsky, spread throughout the square. Facing Vasilievsky’s descent, the wall is closed by the corner of the Beklemishevskaya tower.

Exactly between the Spasskaya and Nikolsky towers is the Granite Mausoleum of V.I. Lenin And behind there is a necropolis, a memorial cemetery where the leaders of the party and the government, as well as foreign communists rest. The first people near the Kremlin wall were city residents who died during the October armed uprising. In November 1917, 240 people were buried in mass graves.

In the north, the panorama of the square is closed by the Historical Museum, which has gathered huge collections about the history of Russia. The intricate red brick building for the museum was built at the end of the 19th century according to the project of architect Vladimir Iosifovich Sherwood. It has gathered more than 4.3 million exhibitions, a true national treasure!

If you stop at the Red Square in front of the Historical Museum, on the right you can see the two-section Voskresensky Gate and the Iverskaya Chapel, restored in the 1990s. They block the passage between the museum buildings and the State Duma. To its right it borders the Red Mint, a two-story civil building, preserved in Kitay-Gorod from the 17th century. Today, in the courtyard of these two buildings, a museum dedicated to the events of the war of 1812 opens.

Lenin’s mausoleum on the walls of the Moscow Kremlin

From the south, in the square, stands one of the most recognized churches in Russia: the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God. It is true that it is best known among people under the name of “St. Basil’s Cathedral”. The church with many domes appeared after the capture of Kazan in the mid-16th century, thanks to the talented architects Postnik and Barma. Nine multicolored churches in a single foundation have long been considered one of the characteristics of Moscow.

Almost at the same time as the cathedral, the Place of the Front emerged. It was built on a small hill and used to announce the decrees of the sovereign and carry out public executions. At first, the Execution Field was made of wood, but then it became stone.

In front of the cathedral there is an expressive sculptural group “Minin and Pozharsky”, dedicated to the victory of the popular militia at the time of trouble in 1612. The author of the monument is the famous Russian sculptor Ivan Martos, to whom his own children posed. . The inauguration of the historical monument took place in 1818.

In front of the Kremlin wall extends the facade of the main department stores, which also receives the status of an architectural monument. According to Alexei Nikanorovich Pomerantsev’s project, a beautiful three-story building was erected in a pseudo-Russian style.

State Museum of History in Red Square

The corner of Nikolskaya Street is occupied by the picturesque Kazan Cathedral, decorated with elegant kokoshniks with keels. The church that is in this place is newly built. It was built in the early 1990s, accurately recreating the original forms of the lost cathedral. And the temple that was before being erected in 1636 and destroyed exactly 300 years later during the anti-religious campaign carried out by the USSR.

Curious facts

• The area measures 330 m by 75 m. Since 1963, it has been a pedestrian zone where vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles are prohibited.

• For the first time, the area was completely covered with cobblestones in 1804. Until that time, it was mainly made of wood.

• The two most famous parades held here are related to the events of World War II. The first one took place in November 1941 before the start of the counterattack, when the Germans were still standing near Moscow. And the second was organized after the victory, in June 1945.

• In 1987, the 18-year-old German Matthias Rust flew in a light Cessna from Hamburg and landed unimpeded on Vasilievsky’s descent. This was an unprecedented violation of the country’s air borders, after which 34 officers and generals were held responsible, and the main state square was called Sheremetyevo-3 for some time.

• For more than 10 years, every winter a large skating rink has been flooded in the square, where 500 people travel simultaneously. And near it is a tall Christmas tree decorated with New Year’s toys.

Travel tips

The Red Square is always open to groups of tourists and individual travelers, except for the days when massive parties are celebrated, for example, the Victory Day parade on May 9. You can get here for free. It is also allowed to take pictures and videos of fans in the square.

If you want to visit the Mausoleum of V.I. Lenin, it is better to go to the square light. Before entering, everyone must go through a metal detector, and bulky backpacks and bags should be left in a paid storage room.

In the square itself and next to it there are many police officers who often review documents with passersby. Therefore, you should always have your passport or other identification documents with you. Tickets may also be required for tourists to come to the capital. It should be noted that the entire area is monitored by video cameras throughout the day.

How to get

Not far from the square there are several stations of the Moscow metro at the same time, and from any of them it is easy to walk to the square on foot. From the northwest they reach it from Okhotny Ryad, Ploshchad Revolyutsii and Teatralnaya. From the northeast and east sides, from Kitay Gorod and Lubyanka. And finally, along Manezhnaya Street and through the Alexander Gardens, you can walk to the square from Borovitskaya, the Aleksandrovsky Gardens or the library named Lenin. “

Red Square: the place where Russia begins
Address: Russia, Moscow
Area: 24,750 m²
Length: 330 m
Width: 75 m