Red Square is the first thing which you need to visit in Moscow. It has seen so much history and represents the heart of Russia. There are some interesting things about Red Square you need to know before you see it!
1.Tsar Ivan the 3rd gave an order to create a square in order to destroy wooden buildings which threatened to start a fire and burn down the Kremlin.
2. It was created as a trading square, as many squares in Russia did. And it was called so for a century.
3. The name "Red" was given to the square not because it was red or because of communist regime - "red" used to mean "beautiful" in Russian.
4. Kremlin, which is located right near the Red Square used to be white from the 17th to 19th century - it was bleached as it was considered more beautiful for a fortress.
5. GUM, the Main Shopping Center located in the Red Square has been destroyed and rebuilt twice. The current building was constructed in the end of 19th century. From 1931 to 1953 GUM was closed as a shopping center and was used as office, storage and even apartment building.
6. State History Museum in the Red Square is a spectacular example of neo-Russian design.
7. Red Square is also home to what is left of Lenin, father of Soviet regime. You can visit his mausoleum for free every day from 9 to 13 (be prepared to wait in the queue). Sometimes they close it without giving any reason.
8. Kazan Cathedral was completely destroyed in 1936 and then reconstructed in 1993.
9. Splendid St.Basil's Cathedral has magically survived for over 450 years. Napoleon soldiers used it as a barn, and Stalin's administration planned to destroy it as the Cathedral took too much space needed for parades.
10. Since 1993 it is forbidden take pictures in the Red Square with professional camera. To get a permission you need to contact Moscow Kremlin administration.
11. Every winter an ice-skating rink is installed in the Red Square. You can even celebrate New Year here - just need to book tickets in advance.