Red Square

Red Square
a large, open square in central Moscow, adjacent to the Kremlin: site of military parades, Lenin's tomb, and St. Basil's cathedral.

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Open square, central Moscow.

It lies north of the Moskva River and covers almost 800,000 sq ft (73,000 sq m). Dating from the late 15th century, it has long been a busy market area as well as a focal point in Russian history, the scene of executions, demonstrations, riots, and parades. Located around it are the State Historical Museum (1875–81), the eight-towered St. Basil's Cathedral (1555–60), the former state department store GUM, and the tomb of Vladimir Ilich Lenin.

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Russian:  Krasnaya Ploshchad 
open square in Moscow adjoining the historic fortress and centre of government known as the kremlin (Russian: Kreml). The Kremlin and Red Square were added to UNESCO's World Heritage List (World Heritage site) in 1990.

      Dating from the late 15th century, just after the Kremlin walls were completed, Red Square has long been a focal point in the social and political history of Russia and the former Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). It has had several names, but the present name has been used consistently since the later 17th century. The Russian word krasnaya (now translated “red”) also means “beautiful.” Always a market area, the square has also housed, at various times, churches, Moscow's first public library and university, a public theatre, and a printing house.

 Red Square has been the scene of executions, demonstrations, riots, parades, and speeches. Almost 800,000 square feet (73,000 square metres), it lies directly east of the Kremlin and north of the Moskva River. A moat that separated the square from the Kremlin was paved over in 1812. The State Historical Museum (built 1875–83) stands at the northern end of the square. Directly opposite, at its southern end, is the nine-towered Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed (Saint Basil the Blessed) (originally Church of the Intercession), built 1554–60 to commemorate the defeat of the Tatars (Mongols) of Kazan and Astrakhan by Ivan IV the Terrible (Ivan IV). Nearby is a white stone platform (Lobnoye Mesto) dating from the 16th century. From there, edicts and decrees were read to the assembled masses, and once a year the tsar would present himself to the people. GUM, the former State Department Store (built 1889–93; privatized 1993), is on the east side, and Lenin (Lenin, Vladimir Ilich)'s tomb, designed by Alexei Shchusev and completed in 1930, is on the west. Other graves near Lenin's tomb flank the spruce-lined Kremlin wall.

 In 1930 the cobblestone paving of Red Square was replaced with granite paving stones, and a monument to Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky (leaders of the army that forced the surrender of Polish invaders in 1612) was moved from the centre of the square to its present location in front of St. Basil's in order to facilitate parades and demonstrations. Prior to 1991 and the fall of the communist Soviet Union, the annual May Day and October Revolution (November 7 Day) anniversary parades were probably the best-known celebrations held in Red Square.

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Universalium. 2010.

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