Red Square, Moscow - The Traveller


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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Red Square, Moscow

Red Square – City Square in Moscow

Red Square, a city square located in Moscow separates the Kremlin which was a royal citadel earlier and presently an official residence of the President of Russia is said to be the central square of Moscow dues to its main streets being connected to Russia’s important highways, originating from the square. For centuries, it remains to be the heart and soul of Russia.

 In 1990, the Red Square and Kremlinhave been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to their complex links to the history of Russia since the 13th century. From late 15th century after the completion of the Kremlin walls, Red Square had been the central point in the political as well as the social history of Russia and the former Soviet Union had many names though the prevailing name is used since the 17th century.

Besides being a market place, the square has also accommodated at several time, the first public library and university of Moscow, public theatre, a printing house and churches. The square has got its name from the word `krasnyi’ meaning beautiful and is meant `red’ in contemporary Russian and has nothing to do with communism or the colour of several of its buildings. Earlier it was known as Trinity Square due to the Trinity Cathedral which was the predecessor of St. Basil’s Cathedral and its name was made official towards the middle of the 17th century

Fire Square – An Area of Violent Fighting

It was well known as `Fire Square due to the number of times that medieval Russia had been burnt and during the time of the Mongol and Tartar invasion, it had become an area of violent fighting where cannon stood ready to defend the square right till the end of the 17th century.

Towards the southern area of the Red Square, outlined by huge porticos of GUM and Kremlin is the icon of Russia – St. Basil’s Cathedral which is a confusion of patterns, colours and shapes, the peak of a style which is unique to Russian architecture. Prior to St Basil’s the style comprised of tent roofs and onion domes which has been used in designing wooden churches.

The amazing history of Red Square is seen in several painting by Vasily Surikov, Konstantin Yuon and many others. The square was a place of various public ceremonies, balls, proclamations and sometimes for the coronation of Russia’s Tsar that took place there. It gradually built up since then and was used for official ceremonies by the Russian government ever since its establishment.

Lenin’s Mausoleum/GUM Department Store/Kazan Cathedral/State Historical Museum

The Red Square is said to be a sacred place with various festive processions being held at the square. During Palm Sunday, it is said that the famous procession on a donkey is prepared wherein the patriarch, is seen sitting on the donkey and is accompanied by the tsar together with the people coming out of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Kremlin.

Other interesting places are the Lenin’s Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilvich Lenin, who was the founder of the Soviet Union. Towards the eastern area of the square is the GUM department store and next to it is the restored Kazan Cathedral. The State Historical Museum, occupies the northern area where its outlines echo the Kremlin towers while towards the northwest lies the Iberian Gate and Chapel which have been rebuilt.

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