Most Interesting facts about the Red Square in Moscow

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Blog >> Most Interesting facts about the Red Square in Moscow

We are going to tell you about the most interesting facts about the Red Square in Moscow, because as you can imagine, with an area of more than 20 thousand square kilometers and a long history, there is enough to write an entire book.

If you are going to visit the Russian capital, you better have in your plans a visit the Red Square in Moscow, recognized worldwide not only for its beauty, but the buildings and monuments that conform it.

Furthermore, it is a central point that has witnessed several historical periods throughout the existence of Moscow as well as Russia in general, making the square a site with a lot of historical value.

But honestly, the best way to enjoy and take in the history that the Red Square has to offer, you'd have to do a tour with a guide who will show you everything.

Let’s start with the Name

One thing you will probably notice about this place is that the name has nothing to do with the actual color of the buildings around the square, but it has more to do with the Russian etymology.

The Russian word Красная (Krasnaia-Krasnaya), which means "Red", had a different meaning many years ago before the language evolved into what it is today. It originally meant "Beautiful", making the original name of the square "Beautiful Square". The buildings that you will see around the Red Square in Moscow are:

  • The Mausoleum of Lenin - Which contains the embalmed body of the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin. It is one of the most valued and well known tourist attractions in Moscow.
  • The GUM Shopping Center on the eastern side of the square and next to it the restored Kazan Cathedral.
  • The State Historical Museum, located on the north side, whose contours compliment the Kremlin towers next to it. It is one of the great symbols of Moscow, to include the current residence of the President.
  • The St. Basil's Cathedral on the southern side of the plaza.

Most Interesting facts about the Red Square in Moscow.

  • It is the center of the biggest country in the world.

The center of the Red Square in Moscow is considered the "0 Kilometer", or starting point where all the roads, highways, and city blocks begin. They then spread out into the rest of the Moscow.

Fortunately for tourists, it is a car-free zone, unless they are military, police or government officials. So you can walk around freely, take pictures, and enjoy this beautiful square without any traffic or car horns.

  • A Cathedral that still stands miracle: St. Basil's Cathedral

Without a doubt, it is the most symbolic, and the most visited building around the Red Square. Its original name was "Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Mound" and was built by order of Ivan the Terrible between 1555 and 1561.

Since then, it has been through many destruction attempts, fires, two world wars, and hard times of communism.

Some interesting facts:

  • Napoleon arrived in the Russian capital in 1812 and settled in Red Square. He decided to use the church as a stable and for some strange reason did not destroy it, as he did all other religious monuments he encountered with his army.
  • During the communist rule of Stalin, he planned to destroy all religious monuments of any kind. But when Lazarus Kaganovich took charge of remodeling Moscow and proposed his plan to destroy the St. Basil's Cathedral, Stalin refused. And today it still stands proudly in the center of the city.

An interesting fact : We have all played Tetris once in our life.

Do you remember the image at the beginning of the game? It is actually the Cathedral of St. Basil. Tetris was invented by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984 who decided to put the image of the cathedral as a symbol of pride in his country.

  • The 2010 Historical parade of foreign troops

The Red Square has been the stage of many parades, most of them related to the military.

The two most important ones that have taken place are; the first was on November 7, 1941, when the Russian army went into battle against the Germans who were trying to invade the city, the second one took place in 1945, when the victory parade was held at the end of World War II.

But it wasn't until 2010 when actual commemoration took place celebrating the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. For the first time in history, foreign armies marched their troops in the square, these countries included France, United Kingdom and United States.

  • For the superstitious: The ritual of good luck

Almost every important site in the world has its good luck rituals, the Red Square in Moscow is no exception.

A tradition for good luck in Moscow is to pet the dog at the Revoliutsi Ploschad metro. So if you want some luck for your exams, or even with money, you should certainly pet this dog.

But for supertstitious this is one of the most interesting facts about the Red Square in Moscow.

You have to stand with your back to the door between the History Museum and the City Hall of Moscow, looking towards the Manege Square. Then you throw a coin into the Kilometer Zero (i.e. the center of the Red Square).

  • The day when a plane landed on the Red Square in Moscow

On March 28, 1987, an ordinary spring day in Moscow, and the Cold War coming to an end, Mathias Rust, a German boy of 19, decided it was time to land in the center of the square to send a "message of peace" and end war.

The young man left Helsinki and through all the Russian security systems and made his way into the Red Square to for landing.

How did he do it? Everyone wonders the same thing. How did he cross over Russian territory and land without the authorities tracking him, or even worse, shooting him down?

Here is how he did it. He took advantage of the fact that it was a holiday for the Russian military. He also flew very low while following the train tracks to avoid being tracked down by anti-aircraft batteries. And voilà! He landed his plain in front of lots of people, tourists and other military members who watched in total surprise.

This crazy act costed him nearly a year and a half in prison, which probably wasn't something going through his mind when he was cruising into the Red Square.

During the last interview with him, when he was 45, he said that what he did ended the war and he proved that anything is possible.

  • It is the highest honor to be buried in the Red Square in Moscow

One of the most important places to visit in Moscow’s Red Square is the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution.

It contains the preserved body of Vladimir Ilic Ulyanov, also known as Lenin. Every day, thousands of people form a line outside and wait long hours to see his body.

It is said that two or three times a week, the body of Lenin is provided with a number of chemicals that promote conservation, a mixture of glycerin, potassium acetate, and quinine chloride.

Anyways, there are a lot of rumors about how "original" Lenin's body really is. Some say only 10% of it is actually authentic, since much of their original tissue has disappeared over time.

Now whether that is true or false, we do not really know. But what we do know is that since the mausoleum opened, millions of people across Russia and the world have visited the Red Square to go see it.

Lenin is not the only one who is buried there. Next to the Red Square, along the red wall that separates the square from the Kremlin, Josef Stalin, the writer Gorki, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and writer and activist American John Reed are buried as well.

The truth is that there is no better story than the one you will tell after traveling to Moscow.

Your visit to the Red Square in Moscow is a must for all those who spend some time in the Russian capital. History, art, and culture can all be found in the center of Moscow and with the guidance of a local certified tour guide.

If you want to know the history of this wonderful city, its secrets and see firsthand each of its amazing monuments and sites, don’t hesitate and hire a local tour guide who will show the best of Moscow.

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