Moscow’s Red Square is the heart of the city. The 60,000 square meters of cobblestone evoke importance to whoever steps over them.
Visitors travel from far and wide to visit the iconic location. The square is the place of many historic moments. Visitors can also take in some of Moscow’s most famous structures that surround the square.
Red Square has played host to many of Russia’s defining moments. Demonstrations, riots, parades, and executions have all taken place here. Over the years, it has had many different names, with Red Square being consistent since the 17th century. Contrary to belief, the name does not come from communism or the nearby building colors. Red Square’s name comes from the word ‘Krasny’, which once meant ‘beautiful’. This word has only come to mean ‘red’ in contemporary Russian.
The previous names reflect its history. Once known as ‘Fire Square’ – the name reflected the number of times medieval Moscow burned.
Red Square, while continually a market area, has not always been as prestigious. In medieval times the square was full of wooden huts. Clustered beneath the kremlin walls, residents consisted of outlaws and outcasts. Ivan III cleared the town at the end of the 1400s but, the reputation remained for many years.
It was not until the 20th century that Red Square reflects what we know today. Famously the square was the sight of official Soviet military parades.
While granite replaced the original cobblestone paving in 1930, history is still evident in the square. The surrounding buildings stretch far back in Russia’s history.
To the east of the square stands the Kremlin, separating the citadel from the city. Along this side of the square lie many tombs including, former leader Lenin.
At the opposite ends stand two of Russia’s most famous buildings. The State Historical Museum attracts historians and museum-goers at the northern end. At the south of the square, you can find the historic St Basil’s Cathedral standing tall.
VISITING RED SQUARE
Red Square is a crucial attraction for all visitors to Moscow. Tourists visit year-round. However, the contrast in seasons delivers a very different experience in Summer and Winter. Russia reaches very-low temperatures in Winter so, visitors should plan accordingly. If you are lucky enough to visit during snowfall, the square will look almost magical.
While open for most of the year, the square is sometimes closed for celebrations or rehearsals.
Red Square is notorious for its parades. In 2008, Vladimir Putin revived some of the square’s best-known celebrations. These included the annual May Day and October Revolution parade, which started during the reign of the Soviet Union.
The square is easily accessible. Visitors can travel via Moscow’s famous subway system, with two close stations nearby.
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