Generally considered the central heart of Moscow, Red Square has been the focal point for many of Russia’s defining moments, from its humble beginnings as a marketplace to the coronation site of the Tsars.
Contrary to legend, the name does not derive from Communism or the color of the brickwork; rather from the Russian word ‘krasnya’ which can mean either ‘beautiful’ or more recently ‘red’. Red Square contains some of the finest monuments in Moscow including St. Basil’s Cathedral, the restored Kazan Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum and GUM department store. The square was first created during the 16th century, and despite a fairly bloody history, now plays host to many concerts and national events, especially on New Year’s Eve, when there’s a spectacular fireworks display. Although a tourist magnet, the square is synonymous with Russia’s history and therefore the perfect place to get a feel for the country’s past – and her present. Red Square is easily reached from all of the major hotels in the city and should be your first stop during your visit.