A visit to the Red Square is included to the most of our tours. Covering an area 400m by 150m, the Red Square lies in the heart of Moscow and on its four sides stand the Kremlin, the GUM Department Store, the State Historical Museum and St. Basil's Cathedral - centers of government, commerce, history and religion. The square is also home to Lenin's tomb, a gleaming granite mausoleum and monument to the once-revered founder of the Soviet Union.
Red Square was laid out in the 15th Century, under the rule of Ivan III, and was originally called Trinity Square after the Trinity Cathedral, which used to stand on the site where St. Basil's stands now. Sometime later the name 'Krasnaya Ploschad' - Red Square - became popular. The word 'krasnaya' is ambiguous: originally meaning beautiful in old Russian, it only came to mean red in more modern times. The commonly-held assumptions that the 'Red' in Red Square referred to Communism, blood spilt - or even the colour of the monuments - are in fact misplaced.
Located on the site of the city's old market place, over the years Red Square has acted as Moscow's equivalent to ancient Rome's Forum - a vast meeting-place for the people. It has been a place for celebrating religious festivals, for public gatherings, for listening to government announcements (or tsars' addresses), and even watching executions.
Red Square in the 16th century.
The square has also been the scene of more than one display of Russian military might - the most notable of which was in 1941 when lines of Russian tanks rolled through on their way to a front-line confrontation with the Germans. It provided a much-needed boost to Russians' morale in their greatest hour of danger.
The parade of the 7th of November 1941. Soldiers head directly to the front-line.
Now Red Square is the most popular tourist attraction. A visit is included into most of our preplanned private tours. The guide will provide you to stories about the square and the buildings around the square - St. Basil's cathedral, GUM shopping center, Lenin's Tomb.