Red Square

Visit the most iconic square in Russia, which is bordered by many of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Red Square immediately comes to mind when you think of Russia. Its cathedrals, the Kremlin Wall and Lenin’s Mausoleum are just some of the hugely popular attractions you will find here. Explore Russian history and admire the city’s grand religious, political and imperial buildings.

Although known for its grandeur, Red Square was once in disrepute. It sprang up beside the fortified Kremlin and was home to various unseemly individuals in the beginning. Ivan III tried to reclaim the square in 15th century, but it took hundreds of years for it to shake its troublesome reputation. The square became a key parade venue in the 20th century and the Russian military frequently marched here. Walk through these grounds you may have seen countless times on television and in films.

While many think its name relates to Russia’s Communist past, it actually comes from the word for beautiful, which can also be translated as “red” in modern Russian. It is easy to understand why Muscovites chose this name when you see St. Basil’s Cathedral, an emblematic Russian landmark. Investigate its vividly colored and patterned towers and domes, which are known throughout the world. Go inside St. Basil’s to see an awe-inspiring collection of religious art.

Stop at the Kremlin Wall to pay your respects to prominent Russians. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and writer Maksim Gorky are buried here, as well as many other well-regarded Soviet era individuals. Lenin’s Mausoleum is also on Red Square. Enter to see the first Communist leader’s corpse on display, over 90 years after he died.

Shop in the GUM mall, Russia’s most famous shopping area. This building is so grand you might mistake it for a palace. During its long history, it hosted 1,200 shops in 1917 and soon became a favorite shopping spot for well-to-do Soviets. It now offers an extensive selection of designer goods for discerning shoppers.

Red Square has many other things to see and do, so be prepared to spend several hours at the site. Take the metro to Ploshchad Revolyutsii to get here. Some of the attractions have admission fees.

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