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Red Square (Krasnaya Ploshchad)

Most visitors begin their acquaintance with Moscow in Krasnaya Ploshchad, Red Square, the heart of the city. It was first mentioned in 15th – century chronicles as the Veliky Torg, the Great Marketplace and main trading center of the town. From the time of Ivan the Great the square was used as a huge gathering place for public events, markets, fairs and festivals. Many religious processions came through the square led by the czar and patriarch of the Orthodox Church. It was also the scene of political demonstrations and revolts, and the site of public executions. The square received its present name in the 17th century from the old Russian word krasny, meaning both red and beautiful. From the Middle Ages it was a popular open – air market and it remained so until GUM, the shopping arcade was completed in 1893 and the traders moved under cover.

This magnificent square encompasses an area of over 70,000 square meters (almost 84,000 square yards) and is bounded by the Kremlin walls, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Lenin Mausoleum, the Historical Museum and the GUM Department Store.

Today national celebrations are still held here, especially on May Day when it is filled with huge parades and festivities.

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