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Red Square, your starting point for exploring MoscowVou na Janela

In Moscow, all roads lead to Red Square. Did you find it exaggerated? Well, know that it is Russia’s postcard, symbol of that country’s power and was the stage for the military parades of the former Soviet Union that left the world’s hair on end for decades.

In addition to all this symbolism, it is from this that the main avenues of the city depart, which extend like arteries and become highways that cut through the country. Yes, it is no exaggeration to say that Red Square is the heart of Russia, the center of everything.

The military parades of the Soviet Union

A visit to Moscow only really starts at Red Square, which is named not because of the red wall of the Kremlin, or because it is the color that represents communism. The name comes from the Russian word krasnaya, which can mean either “red” or “beautiful”. It could be called Praça Bonita, which it actually is, but its historical roots wanted the world to know it as Praça Vermelha.

Being the center of everything, Red Square is surrounded by buildings that show us the Russia of yesterday and the Russia of today. There is the solid and austere Kremlin, the seat of government and beside it St. Basil’s Cathedral, the most beautiful building your eyes will ever see in Russia. At the other end is the State Historical Museum, with its red walls and almost ghostly pointed towers. Completing the perimeter is the GUM, the largest mall in Moscow, a real slap in the face for the country’s socialist past. Stuck there, where Vladimir Lenin rests embalmed and in the same place he led the October Revolution, marking the beginning of the communist era and birth of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Red Square

The Soviet Union died in 1991, but that past lives on, not just in Red Square, but throughout Moscow. But now everything can be witnessed from the cabin, felt and tasted. Recorded with your camera, broadcast on video and without fear of being arrested and accused of spying.


What to see in Red Square


Start your tour by walking through it, feeling the Moscow atmosphere and observing the unique architecture around you. In my childhood memory, I remembered the military parades that took place there and that the nightly news showed on TV. Remember that all that happened there, in such a closed country and that today is so accessible.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

A lot of people think she’s part of the Kremlin, but no, she’s just the prettiest neighbor the Kremlin could ever have. The church with its colorful towers and spiral shapes – some say they are large colored onions – was commissioned by Ivan IV the Terrible, and designed by Postnik Yakovlev over 450 years ago. The idea was that the set of smaller towers, surrounding a larger one, would resemble a set of flames from a bonfire, or the “city of God”.

Legend has it that Ivan loved the Cathedral so much that he had the architect blinded, so that he would never again design anything more beautiful than her. Well, true or not, Ivan was not called “terrible” for nothing.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Kremlin

Impossible to pass through Red Square and not be impacted by the walls and towers of the Russian government headquarters. Kremlin means “fortress” or “fortified city”, and inside it is a real city. With museums, squares, gardens and beautiful cathedrals.

Ivan’s Belfry

It was once the most closed place in the world, it would have been unthinkable to visit there in the Soviet Union, let alone take some pictures, we would all be arrested for espionage. Today it is accessible, or a good part, right?

Here on the blog there is a super complete post with everything about the visit, what to see and which ticket to buy.

Read more: Everything you need to know to visit the Moscow Kremlin

Annunciation Cathedral

Lenin’s Mausoleum

When Vladimir Lenin died in 1924, Communist Party leaders feared that the country would collapse, such was the influence and admiration that Lenin exercised over the Soviets. After burial in the mausoleum on the Kremlin wall, they decided that his body would be embalmed and put on display indefinitely.

The story is bizarre but real and the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin rests in a glass coffin and can be visited in his mausoleum next to the Kremlin wall on Red Square. Since his death, the body has gone through a daily process of preservation and conservation, all to keep the myth alive, even today. Well, I didn’t go in, because I really didn’t want to, I think it’s too morbid.

Out of curiosity, great names such as Stalin, the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the writer Maxim Gorky and many other political leaders are buried in the mausoleum on the Kremlin wall.

Lenin’s Mausoleum

State Historical Museum

Opposite St. Basil’s Cathedral is the State Historical Museum. The building that has housed the museum since 1872 is the first image you will have of Red Square as you exit the Okhotny Ryad metro station. Prepare to be stunned by so much detail, sumptuousness and even a ghostly touch.

The museum’s collection tells the story of the country’s formation from the first records to the last sighs of the Soviet Union in 1991.

State Historical Museum

Shopping GUM

Shopping GUM is considered the most expensive in the world, I was surprised to have this information, but walking through its corridors, we understand the reason for the title. A cluster of hundreds of luxury stores with everything the most consumerist can dream of. A temple of spendthrift in the building that was one of the symbols of socialism.

Shopping GUM

The Shopping GUM building was commissioned by Tsarina Catherine II, in 1889 to be exactly a commercial center. With the Russian revolution, it became a large warehouse for distributing food to the population, hence the name GUM, the abbreviation for “State Department Store”, of course, in Russian. After that it housed Communist Party offices, returned to being a shopping center in 1953 and with the end of the Soviet Union, it became a shopping mall.

It’s nice to visit Shopping GUM, when I was in Moscow and was nearby, I always ran there to warm up from -15 degrees, have a hot chocolate and eat a Nutella crepe for 350 Rubles (20 reais). The good news is that you can have these little treats without paying a fortune.

Shopping GUM

Alexander’s Gardens

The Alexander Gardens are not exactly on Red Square, but on the other side of the Kremlin, including the entrance to it.

The gardens run along the entire west wall of the Kremlin to the Moskva River, it was built in 1819 in honor of the Tsar Alexander I. When I was in Moscow it was beautiful, everything covered with snow, in the summer it is lush with hundreds of species of flowers.

Alexander Park and the Kremlin Wall

Zaryadye Park

Right next to Red Square is Zaryadye Park, beautiful, huge, full of spots from where you can enjoy the beautiful architecture of Moscow and home to the city’s newest attraction, the Flying Bridge. A huge walkway suspended over the park, streets and advances over the Moskva River. From there we have a beautiful view of Red Square and various points of Moscow. It’s worth a trip up there.

Zaryadye Park


How to get to Red Square


There’s no mistake, it’s in the heart of Moscow and the best way to get there is by metro. The nearest station is Okhotny Ryad (red line) which is integrated with the green and blue lines.

Read here how to use the Moscow metro without complications

Cover image: Shutterstock


Looking for accommodation in Moscow


I wrote a post explaining the best places to stay in Moscow and also where to avoid. Read the post here.

Check out our list of accommodation suggestions in Moscow: click here


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