The Moscow Red Square: The Epicentrum of Russia

Known in Russian as `Krásnaya plóshchad’` (which means the red and beautiful square, supposedly referring to the color of the buildings around it), Red Square is a city square in Moscow and a major Russian icon. The Red Square also known as The Center of Russia.

Red Square's history stretches back way before the Communist Soviet Union, back to the days of Czarist Russia. In the late 15th Century, people came to this square, called Torg, or market square, to purchase food, livestock, or other wares. By the late 16th Century, it was renamed Trinity Square, and served as the main entrance to the Kremlin. It wasn't until 1650 that it received the name Krásnaya Plóshchad, krasnaya meaning both beautiful and red. The Red Square of today is more than 500,000 square feet of open land. A place where people gather to celebrate official state events, to be photographed in front of favorite sites, or just to drink in the historic splendor.

St. Basil's Cathedral at the southern end of Red Square, just outside the Kremlin, sits the cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed. Perhaps on the most familiar and glorious sites associated with Moscow and the Kremlin. In 1552, Czar Ivan IV, known as "Ivan the Terrible", commissioned two Russian architects to build a magnificent cathedral in celebration of the Russian victory over the Tartars. The architects clustered together eight individual churches. Each with its own cupola or dome, around one central belfry to create this cathedral. Each church was dedicated to the saint on whose feast day, the eight major victories over the Tartars were won. St. Basil's has spectacular interior and exterior which all worth to see.

G.U.M. which stands for The Gosudarstevemy Universahy Magazin is located on the North Eastern side of Red Square. It was built at the turn of the 19th Century (in fact the first department store in Moscow), the complex boasts an elegantly-decorated interior, comprising of three parallel arcades, centered around a fountain and roofed by a splendid glass ceiling. During the soviet rule in Russia, this store was only for the aristocrats of society. But present GUM Department Store is a public stores and it's a great place to do luxury shopping.

Lenin's Mausoleum on the western edge of Red Square, nestled up against the exterior of the Kremlin wall, stands a monument to the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin's mausoleum. Following his death, in 1924, Lenin's embalmed body was placed in a temporary wooden mausoleum after government offices were flooded with telegrams requesting the construction of a shrine to the illustrious revolutionary. Although Lenin had clearly indicated his desire not to be immortalized, the temporary structure was replaced in 1929 with the granite and black labradorite version seen today. Each year, thousands of people line up for the opportunity to view Lenin on his glass-enclosed bier and to watch the hourly ritual of the changing of the guard.

#source : Red Square, Russia
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