Red Square

Red Square (русский. 'Кра́сная пло́щадь', Krásnaya plóshchad’) is the most famous city square in Moscow, and arguably one of the most famous in the world. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitay-gorod. As major streets of Moscow radiate from here in all directions, being promoted to major highways outside the city, the Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow and of all Russia.

Origin and name

by Tsar Peter I in Red Square (1881, Vasily Ivanovich Surikov)]] The rich history of Red Square is reflected in many artworks, including paintings by Vasily Surikov, Konstantin Yuon and others. The square was meant to serve as Moscow's main marketplace. It was also used for various public ceremonies and proclamations, and occasionally as the site of coronation for Russia's czars. The square has been gradually built up since that point and has been used for official ceremonies by all Russian governments since it was established.

The name of Red Square derives neither from the colour of the bricks around it (moreover, in some periods Kremlin's walls and towers were whitewashed) nor from the link between the colour red and communism. Rather, the name came about because the Russian word ' (krasnaya) can mean either "red" or "beautiful" (the latter meaning is archaic). The word was originally applied (with the meaning "beautiful") to Saint Basil's Cathedral (actually, the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin) and was subsequently transferred to the nearby square. It is believed that the square acquired its current name (replacing the older Pozhar, or "burnt-out place") in the 17th century. Several ancient Russian towns, such as Suzdal, Yelets, and Pereslavl-Zalessky, have their main square named Krasnaya ploshchad, namesake of Moscow's Red Square.

History before the 18th century

East side of the Kremlin triangle was, situated between the rivers Moskva and (now current in the ground) Neglinnaya, from a military point of view the most vulnerable. This was not a protected by the rivers and any natural barriers. Therefore, the Kremlin wall on that side the most high. Italian architects, who built the Kremlin, convinced the Ivan the Great to clear this part that would create an open space for the convenience of shooting. The relevant decrees were issued in 1493 and 1495. They are prescribed to demolish all the buildings at a distance of 110 sazhens (234 metres) from the wall. In 1508-1516 the Italian architect Aleviz Fryazin (Novy) arranged in front of a wall moat, connecting the Moskva and Neglinnaya and filled with water from Neglinnaya. The moat, known as «Alevizov moat» has a length of 541 meters, width of 36 meters and a depth 9,5-13 m. The moat, was coated limestone and in 1533 fenced on both sides of low brick walls with thickness of 4 meters, with cogs like the Kremlin's. From this side go to square three gates, on the 17 th century known as: Constantino-Eleninsky, Spassky, Nikolsky (in accordance with hanging over them icons Constantine and Helen, the Savior and St. Nicholas). Last two are directly opposite the Red Square, while Konstantino-Elenensky located behind the Saint Basil's Cathedral. (Arch of Konstantino-Elenensky gate was in the early 19 th century immure with bricks and covered the ground). Spassky were the main front gate of the Kremlin and used for royal entrances. From the gate, through the moat was spread the wood (from the XVII century stone) bridges. In the Spassky bridge was selling of books. Аt the moat were built stone platforms for guns - «raskats», in the platform of the Lobnoye mesto was a Tsar Cannon.

The square was called Veliky Torg (Great market) or simple Torg (Market), then Troitskaya by name a small Troitskaya (Trinity) Church, burnt down in the great fire during the Tatar invasion in 1571. After that, square have title Pozhar, and only in 1661/62 it was first mentioned as Krasnaya - «Red».

Square was landing stage and trade center of Moscow. Decrees of the Ivan the Great was allowed to trade only with her hands,but with time these rules are violated, and the square appeared more or less long-term market buildings. After a fire in 1547, Ivan the Terrible ordered arrange on the eastern side of the square lines of wooden shops - «market lines». Streets Ilyinka and Varvarka divided them into the Upper lines (now GUM department store), Middle lines and Bottom lines (Bottom were already in Zaryadye).

After a few years was built Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, known as Saint Basil's Cathedral. This was the first building which gave the square a modern characteristic silhouette (on the Kremlin towers but has not yet been built pyramidal roofs). In 1595, woods market lines were replaced with stone. By that time, also has been constructed of a brick a platform for the proclamation of the tsar's edicts, known as Lobnoye Mesto.

Red Square was considered a sacred place, as it were different festive processions, and during the Palm Sunday arranged famous «procession on a donkey» (in which the patriarch, sitting on a donkey, accompanied by the tsar and the people went out of Saint Basil's Cathedra in the Kremlin).

During the expulsion of Poles from Moscow in 1612, through the square to the Kremlin has entered Prince Dmitry Pozharsky. In memory of the event, he had built at square Kazan Cathedral - in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, followed his army in a campaign.

At the same time (1624-1625) Spasskaya tower has received contemporary tent roofs. This was done on the proposal and the draught of Englishman Christopher Galovey, who was summoned to the device to the new tower's clock (clock watch it there with the 1585) and suggested that to arrange over clock the tent roof. In the mid-century on the top of the tower was it is set up gold double-headed eagle. After these, the square became known as Krasnaya - «beautiful».

In the late 17 th century the square was cleared of all wooden structures (1679-1680). Then tents roofs have received all Kremlin towers, except Nikolskaya. One tent was erected, even on the wall above the Red Square (the so-called Tsarskaya Tower, intended, that the tsar could watch this space for the various ceremonies in the square). There were also are constructed tents roofs at Voskrerensky (Iberian) gates, arranged in the wall of Kitai-gorod. These were the fortified gates at Voskresensky Bridge over the River Neglinnaya.

In 1697 and 1699 years on both sides of Voskresensky gates were built on two large stone buildings: Mint and Zemsky prikaz (department in charge of urban and police matters). Zemsky prikaz, then, was known as the Main Pharmacy (on-site new Historical Museum). In the building of Zemsky prikaz in 1755 was organised by first Russian University. At the same time in Alevizov moat, where there was no water, was is arranged a state Pharmacy's garden (where the growing of medicinal plants).

18th century

In 1702 at a moat near the Nikolsky gate was built wooden theatre - the first public theatre in Russia (has burned down in 1737).

In the 1730's in front of old buildings Mint was buildt a new Mint, subsequentl known as the Gubernskoye pravlenie (Provincial Board).

Catherine the Great decided to improvement the square. In 1786 the stone market lines have been reconstructing and have received second floors. This line was built and on the opposite side of the square - at moat between the Spasskaya and Nikolskaya towers. Then architect Matvey Kazakov built (in the old forms) the new Lobnoye mesto of hewn stone, slightly west of the place where it was before.

19th and early 20th century

In 1804, at the request of merchants, which interfered with dirt, the square was paved with stones. In 1806 Nikolskaya Tower was is reconstructed in the Gothic style, and has received tent roof. The new phase of improvement of the square began after the Napoleonic invasion and fire in 1812. Moat was filled in 1813, in its place planted rows of trees. Market Line along the moat, dilapidated of the fire and explosion, had been demolished, and on the eastern side Joseph Bové constructed new building of lines in Empire style. In 1818 it was put Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, symbolising lifted up during the war patriotic consciousness of nation.

In 1874, historic building of Zemsky prikaz was demolished and in its place was built in the Imperial Historical Museum in psevdo-russian style. After the had been demolished Bové's lines, replaced in 1888-1893 of new large buildings in the pseudo-russian style: Upper lines (GUM department store) and Middle lines. The Upper lines was intended for retail sale and was in fact the first in Moscow department store; Middle lines intended for the wholesale trade. At the same time (in 1892) the square was illuminated by electric lanterns. In 1909 on the square appeared tram.

Recent history

, June 24, 1945]] During the Soviet era, Red Square maintained its significance, becoming the main square in the life of the new state. Besides being the official address of the Soviet government it was renowned as the location for military parades. Kazan Cathedral and Iverskaya Chapel with the Resurrection Gates were demolished to make room for heavy military vehicles driving through the square (both were later rebuilt after the fall of the Soviet Union). There were plans to demolish Moscow's most recognized building, Saint Basil's Cathedral, as well. The legend is that Lazar Kaganovich, Stalin's associate and director of the Moscow reconstruction plan, prepared a special model of Red Square, in which the cathedral could be removed, and brought it to Stalin to show how the cathedral was an obstacle for parades and traffic. But when he jerked the cathedral out of the square, Stalin objected with his famous quote: "Lazar! Put it back!".

Two of the most significant military parades on Red Square were the one in 1941, when the city was besieged by Germans and troops were leaving Red Square straight to the front lines, and the Victory Parade in 1945, when the banners of defeated Nazi armies were thrown at the foot of Lenin's Mausoleum.

On May 28, 1987, a German pilot named Mathias Rust landed a light aircraft on St Basil's descent next to Red Square.

In 1990, the Kremlin and Red Square were among the very first sites in the USSR added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

In recent years, Red Square has served as a venue for high-profile concerts. Shakira, Scorpions, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alyonka & Diana Larionov, and many other celebrities performed there. For the New Year 2006, 2007 and 2008 celebrations, a skating rink was set up on Red Square. Paul McCartney's performance there was a historic moment for many, as The Beatles were banned in the Soviet Union, preventing any live performances there of any of The Beatles; the Soviet Union also banned the sales of Beatles records, and this was the first time that a Beatle performed in Russia.

In January 2008, Russia announced that they would resume parading military vehicles through Red Square, although recent restoration of Iverski Gate complicated this, by closing one of existing passages along Historical Museum for the heavy vehicles.

In May 2008, Russia held its annual Victory day parade, marking the 63rd anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. For the first time since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russian military vehicles paraded through the square.

On December 4th, 2008, The KHL announced they would be holding their first ever all-star game outdoors on January 10th at the Red Square .


(right)]] The buildings surrounding the Square are all significant in some respect. Lenin's Mausoleum, for example, contains the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. Nearby to the south is the elaborate brightly-domed Saint Basil's Cathedral and the palaces and cathedrals of the Kremlin.

On the eastern side of the square is the GUM department store, and next to it the restored Kazan Cathedral. The northern side is occupied by the State Historical Museum, whose outlines echo those of Kremlin towers. The Iberian Gate and Chapel have been rebuilt to the northwest.

The only sculptured monument on the square is a bronze statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, who helped to clear Moscow from the Polish invaders in 1612, during the Times of Trouble. Nearby is the so-called Lobnoye Mesto, a circular platform where public ceremonies used to take place. Both the Minin and Pozharskiy statue and the Lobnoye Mesto were once located more centrally in Red Square butt were moved to their current locations to facilitate the large military parades of the Soviet era. The square itself is around 330 meters (1100 ft) long and 70 meters (230 ft) wide.

See also

External links


  • Юрий Федосюк. Москва в кольце Садовых. М., Московский рабочий, 1991. ISBN 5-239-01139-7
  • П.В.Сытин. Из истории московских улиц (очерки). М.. Московский рабочий, 1958
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26 August 2015
My favorite place in Moscow: St. Basil's Cathedral, Spasskaya Tower with chimes, Kremlin, Historical Museum. Here were many events and facts from history of Russia. Must see for each newbie in Moscow
We heart Moscow
18 July 2012
Sunset is a perfect time to take in the great views of the Kremlin, GUM and Saint Basil's Cathedral, as the last rays of the sun cast reflections over this legendary area.
Ricardo Luciano
24 June 2018
Amazing place!!! One of my favorite places in my life!!! I enjoyed the FIFA Wolrd Cup! My wife took this picture and I loved it!
Garegin Avagyan
27 November 2018
Heart of Mother Russia: The Kremlin, State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum, St. Basil's Cathedral. Everything in one place. A place where epochs are woven into an intricate pattern. #1 on your list!
Yosra Hml
18 August 2017
the only place in Moscow that you can feel good is there,colorful with good museum and lively area.
Ma Hi
26 July 2016
Heart of moscow!you can feel the history and soul of russia in there!magnificent architecture!GREAT symbol of russia!if you have'nt seen this you have'nt seen moscow!my favorite place in moscow!
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