Russia

Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral

A tour of the most famous square and temple in Moscow

Pedro Gula
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Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral
Inserted: 14.09.2018
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Red Square was established in the 1990s at the north-eastern Kremlin wall after the demolition of the buildings that originally stood here. The huge space (700 × 130 m) was used as a marketplace and also as a gathering place for rebels, and a place for political demonstrations and military searches. The square is hardly separable from the Kremlin and together with it is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Red Square

The original name of the square was derived from the wooden church that stood on it, namely Trojické náměstí. It was not until the second half of the 17th century that it was called „Krasivaja plochach“, which meant Beautiful Square. After the October Revolution, a new name was given priority, „Krasnaya Ploshchad“, ie Red Square.

Red Square
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

State Historical Museum

On the north side of Red Square stands the State Historical Museum, a red building in the Russian-Byzantine style with typical shields, towers and turrets.

State Historical Museum
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Iver Gate of the Resurrection

The Iver Gate stands right next to the State Historical Museum. Through the Iverian Gate, or the Gate of the Resurrection, the main entrance to Red Square leads from the north side. The gate was originally part of the walls, which from 1538 surrounded Kitay-gorod (the main business district of old Moscow). The Iverian Icon of the Mother of God was once housed in the Iver Gate Chapel. Before entering the Kremlin, all the tsars bowed to this supposedly miraculous work. In 1931, the gate was overthrown at Stalin's command. Stalin needed more space to enter heavy military equipment on Red Square during military parades. It was not restored to its original state until 1996. On the pavement directly in front of the gate there is a zero-kilometer mark, from which all distances in Russia are measured.

Iver Gate of the Resurrection
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com
Iver Gate of the Resurrection
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Iver Gate of the Resurrection

Detail of the gate with the Archangel.

Kazan temple

Opposite the State Historical Museum is the Kazan Cathedral, built to celebrate Russia's victory over Poland. The icon of the Mother of God of Kazan is stored here. This building was also demolished at Stalin's command and rebuilt only in 1993.

Kazan temple
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com
Kazan temple
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Kazan temple

Icon above the entrance.

Famous graves near the Kremlin wall

Seen from the State Historical Museum, the entire right side of Red Square borders the Kremlin. In this part, under the Kremlin wall, are the graves of „famous Russians“. Among others, Stalin, Zhukov, Malinovsky, Krupska, Konev, Gorky, Gagarin, Dzerzhinsky, Chernenko and Brezhnev.

Famous graves near the Kremlin wall
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Mausoleum of VI Lenin

The most famous grave, resp. the mausoleum stands in the foreground by the Kremlin wall, between the Spasskaya and St. Nicholas Towers. The mausoleum of VI Lenin is a austere stepped structure made of polished red granite and red labradorite. After Lenin's death, only an emergency mausoleum broken from planks was built on this site. In 1924, it was rebuilt and replaced by an oak building. In 1930, a stone building was built as we know it today. A special Scientific Research Institute for Biological Structures was set up to keep Lenin's dead body intact. At present, when the institute does not receive financial resources, it offers its services to the general public. Material preservation of the body will cost $ 250,000, and the price includes inspections every two years and possible repairs to the body.

Mausoleum of VI Lenin
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Kremlin wall

Red Square is right next to the Kremlin. Under the Kremlin walls there is also a space where grandstands stand during large celebrations and military tours.

Kremlin wall
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

GUM department store

The dominant feature of the eastern side of the square is a large department store GUM – ГУМ – Главный Уныверзальный Магазин. Especially nice is the evening, when it is all lit. It is open daily from 10:00 to 22:00. This stately building, which used to be a market place, was built between 1890 and 1893. It is built in the Russian-Byzantine style. Today you will find dozens of Russian and foreign shops, restaurants, canteens, and also a somewhat kitschy imitation of a typical socialist food trade – Gastronomy No. 1.

GUM department store
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

GUM department store

Interior.

GUM department store
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

St. Basil's Cathedral

Perhaps the most famous building on Red Square is the Church of Vasily the Blessed. In places where the southern side of the Red Square gradually descends to the Moscow River, the colorful domes of St. Basil's Cathedral or Pokrovsky Cathedral shine. It is a unique monument of Russian architecture, built by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in memory of the conquest of Kazan and the annexation of the Kazan and Astrakhan Khanate to Russia in 1552. In one of the side altar ships of the temple lived „God man“, a beggar and religious fanatic Vasily. The locals got used to it and even became a favorite of the tsar, so the temple became known as the Temple of Vasily the Blessed. The interior does not form one large space, but is divided into eight more or less separate churches, which symbolize the days of the decisive struggle for Kazan. Passages decorated with colorful geometric and floral motifs are interconnected.

St. Basil's Cathedral
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Church of St. Basil

Especially impressive is the temple in the evening.

Church of St. Basil
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Church of St. Basil

The interior of the temple.

Church of St. Basil
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com
Church of St. Basil
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Church of St. Basil

The interior of the temple.

Church of St. Basil
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Church of St. Basil

The interior of the temple.

Church of St. Basil

The interior of the temple.

Church of St. Basil
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Sculpture of Minin and Pozharsky

In front of the Church of Vasily the Blessed stands a sculpture of Minin and Pozharsky by Ivan Martos from 1818. It depicts a prince and a butcher, two leaders of a popular uprising, during which the Polish occupiers were expelled from Russia in 1612.

Sculpture of Minin and Pozharsky
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

"Lobnoje" place

Not far from the temple stands the „Lobnoje“ or „Front“ place, formerly used as an execution site, and there was also a stage where the most important state decisions were announced, from where the „anger and grace“ of the monarch was proclaimed. The current appearance of the stage with a white front stone dates from 1786.

"Lobnoje" place
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com

Stalin's skyscraper on the Kotelnice embankment

From the southern end of Red Square, the Great Moskvorecký Bridge leads over the Moskva River, from where there is a view of one of the „Stalin's sisters“ standing on the Kotelnice embankment.

Stalin's skyscraper on the Kotelnice embankment
Author: Pedro Gula © gigaplaces.com
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Vladimír Kučera
18.09.2018 10:14
fine

Chrám jak z ruské pohádky:-) Pro někoho možná nevkusně přezdobený, ale v každém případě ikonické místo a symbol Moskvy