The Red Square

The Red Square is the most important square in Moscow. It is situated just beside the Kremlin’s north-eastern wall. At its other three sides the square is confined by the building of the State Historical Museum, the GUM Department Store and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

red-squareAccording to historical records, the Red Square was laid down in the late 15th century. During the years 1555-1560 St. Basil’s Cathedral was raised at the southern side of the Red Square. There is a so-called ‘Lobnoye Place’ situated at the square. According to the legends, it was founded in tribute to the victory over the Tartars in 1512. It was the place where the Holy relics were laid for the general public to see. “Lobnoye” means Calvary when translated from Jewish, the place of Crucifixion. However, in spite of generally accepted opinion, Lobnoye Place was never used for executions. Starting from 1786 Lobnoye Place represented a circular stone raised platform 13 meters in diameter.

The monument to Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky was founded not far from Lobnoye Place in the 19th century. But in 1931 the monument was moved over to the St. Basil’s Cathedral’s fence because it interfered with military parades marching across the Red Square. In 1875-1881 the Historical Museum’s building was erected at the square’s northern side, and in 1889-1893 the Upper Merchant Houses were built (currently the GUM Department Store building).

In the Soviet period the Bolsheviks attempted to reconsider the name “Red Square” under the revolutionary point of view that the colour “Red” symbolised the revolution. As from 1918 parades and demonstrations of the “working people” were regularly held at the Red Square. It was the place where the famous parade of the 7th of November 1941, World War II, took place. Participants of this parade marched straight to the frontline where many didn’t return. The Victory parade also took place at the Red Square on 24 June 1945 and has been meticulously held every year since.

In 1924 a wooden Mausoleum was built at the Red Square which was rebuilt as a stone one in 1929-1930. At the same time fir-trees were planted along the Kremlin wall and the Red Square, which was pebbled before that, was paved with stone blocks.The total area of the Re Square is 23,100 m2. It has a length of 300 meters and a width of 70 meters.

At the present time the Square’s name, ‘Red’, is understood in its original meaning, ‘beautiful’ and ‘festive’. Travel to Moscow