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Kremlin and Red Square

Kremlin and Red Square
The Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow are associated with all major events in Russian history, and its monuments are great examples of Russian architecture. Both the Red Square and the seat of government Kremlin are located at the heart of Moscow.

The city of Moscow was founded in 1156 as a seat for the czars. The current Kremlin dates from the 19th century. It consists of several buildings: churches, palaces and places in political use. A red brick wall surrounds the complex.

The Red Square is a city square from which the major streets of Moscow radiate in all directions. Buildings surrounding the square include:
- Lenin's Mausoleum
- the brightly-domed Saint Basil's Cathedral
- GUM department store
- Kazan Cathedral
- State Historical Museum
- Iberian Gate and Chapel

The only sculptured monument on the square is a bronze statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, who helped to clear Moscow from the Polish invaders in 1612.

Visit July 1990

A visit to the Lenin-mausoleum here is of course a must. Procedures for visitors to the body / mummy are strict: lots of security at the entrance, no talking inside or standing still to take a closer look.

Moscow nowadays probably looks much different from when I was there, in the Gorbatshov-era. It still was quite communist then (boring, strict, cold). Everything looked the same. One evening, I roamed the streets for hours (after several trips with the subway), looking for my hotel that seemed to be 100% identical to all the other buildings.


Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):
The center of Moscow and the symbolic landmark of Russia, Kremlin and Red Square are truly the magnificent places with unbelievable beauty and clearly one of the must see World Heritage Sites for every travelers. During my five days visit to Moscow, I went to the Red Square three times to admire the grandness of this place. I still remembered the first time I saw the square via the Resurrection Gate with the image of Saint Basil Cathedral in the far distance at twilight; I was stunned with this breathtaking view. The almost desert square with dreamy lights of surrounding buildings was just fantastic and became my highlight of Russian trip.

The Moscow Kremlin is equally impressive with the square. The whole complex is surrounded by the red high wall with many fortress-like towers; one of my favorite is the Spasskaya tower with its fanciful spire and large clock. Inside the Kremlin at first I was quite frustrated with many restrict areas and rule of no photograph near administrative buildings. The first building I saw was the Armory; inside was the large exhibition of Russian Imperial treasure with many gold and jewel objects, the highlights for me were many beautiful state coaches and royal robes. Then I saw the Cathedral of the Annunciation, its many golden onion domes was very beautiful; however, the Cathedral of the Archangel and the Assumption Cathedral were closed during my visit so I did not have a chance to see its famous fresco. After that I went to see the famous Ivan the Great bell tower, the tower was quite nice and lovely, also I had photo shot with the big Tsar Canon and Tsar Bell, two gigantic curiosities of Kremlin.

Then I went window browsing inside the GUM department, I was shocked to see its beautiful warm lights interior with hundred of international brand names and thousands of rich Russian shoppers, I even imagined that this place can be Milan not Moscow. Next day, it was the time for Saint Basil Cathedral; its colorful candy-like domes were so perfect to be real. After back to my country I was quite surprised that I forgot to see the Lenin Tomb, actually during my visit I did not see the tomb or any long queue at all as there was a very large stage for some celebration in front of the tomb! Seem that the organizer did not care at all for the tomb existence, a great surprising act in the former center of Communist World.
Date posted: February 2012
ahadalia sriwijayani (Indonesia):
I visited red square, gum, lenin musoleum, kremlin about last year. It seems like yesterday for me. I like this place, no wonder if UNESCO listed it to be world heritage list. There is one place where i was impressed more, it is tsaritsino. This was a palace where Queen Ekaterina lived. It's a one of beautiful place with nice views surround it. I will come again to visit next time when opportunity comes. Many wonderful, beautiful places and buildings in Moscow.
Date posted: August 2010
mukul kumar singh (india):
i was at kremlin red square at 10 th august 2009 , this time here atmosphere excellant like spring season, i like this place because of found something different here , this place took me the time soviet icon. i had made some memorable snaps infront of church & presidential palace.
i had moved around a big mall infront of palace.i was there with my company business trip. i was visited there with one of my russian galfriend. really i had enjoyed alot that was my unforgetable memory for me.
Date posted: August 2009
I'm Russian. But i moved to the U.S. when i was only 9. So i never got to see the Red Square then. But last year (summer of '06) I got to see it up close and personal with my family when we visited russia. It was breath taking and very beautiful. If you love to travel and would like to visit Russia one day, i would recomend the Red Square. there is so much history. I did not know how importaint this place was at the time of my visit. I am not doing a college paper on St. Basils Cathedral and learned so much more. If you plan on visiting I would recomend on reading the history on the place and it will make your experience so much more fulfilling
Emilia Bautista King (USA):
I went here in 1990, when it was still "the Soviet Union." To see the intricate details of St. Basil's Cathedral is quite special. I remember visiting Lenin's tomb and the long line to get in. I also celebrated the 4th of July in Moscow that year with other Americans in our hotel. Some of the most memorable points of my stay were going to the Moscow Circus and visiting an elementary school.
Date posted: February 2006
Solivagant (UK):
It is a surprise to discover both that, as of Jan 2006, no one has reviewed this site and that, despite being one of the unarguably great “iconic” sites of the world, it was not inscribed (as the first “Soviet WHS”) until as late as Dec 1990. The UNESCO inscription takes great trouble to explain that inclusion of a site is not permitted until the sovereign state, on whose territory it is, has ratified the convention and submitted an official application. This the Soviet ambassador to UNESCO did on 24/10/1989 (The USSR having ratified the convention on 12/10/1988). A few days after the submission the Berlin Wall came down – by the time UNESCO were inscribing the site at Banff in Dec 1990 the USSR had just 8 months left.

I would like to concentrate my review on just a part of the site - on what the UNESCO evaluation calls “the Soviet Union’s prime example of symbolic monumental architecture” – Lenin’s Tomb (photo)!! Whether it has “outstanding universal value” we won’t debate here! I visited it on several occasions during the Soviet period – there was always an enormous queue into which western tourists were inserted a respectful way back but not so far as to disrupt the Intourist arrangements for our other sightseeing! I often wondered what the Soviet citizens made of our queue jumping. How many were there out of genuine respect for the “great man”, how many to “demonstrate” their “loyalty” to the cause and how many as part of the necessary “cost” to be paid for getting a trip to Moscow with their work unit or other organisation.

Despite plans to remove it going back to early post Soviet days (you can vote for or against at the Mausoleum web site !!!) it is still open to visitors, though the “honour guard”, whose arrival at the doorway was so perfectly timed to synchronise with the chiming of the Kremlin bell (or did they hold back the chime if necessary!), was removed in 1993. “Unfortunately” another wonderful building on Red Square which supported “Lenin mania” namely the Lenin Museum (the building from behind which all those ICBMs used to speed onto Red Square during the Mayday parade) was closed in 1992. It has just been reopened I understand to show Contemporary Art – together apparently, with some Lenin memorabilia.

Who knows how long Lenin himself will survive in his mausoleum - so go there whilst you can! As one of my many travel lists I “collect” visits to the mausolea and graves of dictators. Lenin is one of the “Communist quadrumvirate” with Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il Song who all lie embalmed in open coffins. But there are many others “worth” visiting - Napoleon, Causcescu and Franco to name but a few) – they always provide food for thought on the corruption of power, the inhumanity of man to man, the impermanence of human endeavour and on mankind's yearning for strong leaders despite so much bad experience!
Date posted: January 2006

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Site info

Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow
Country: Russia
Inscribed: 1990
Cultural Heritage
Criteria:  (1) (2) (4) (6)
Category: Secular structure, Civic / Public Works

Site history:
1990 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription

Site links

Official website:

In the news:
» UNESCO asking to put off installation of new monument close to Moscow Kremlin (22-01-2016).
» The Kremlin administration has demolished historic buildings on Moscow's Red Square without a permit -- in order to build a luxury hotel in their place. (24-03-2007).

Related links:
» Moscow attractions.

Related Forum posts:
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Gold Surfaces . Italian Architects outside Italy . Renaissance .
19th century shopping arcades . Clock Tower . Crown Jewels . Domes . Dynastic Burial Places . Famous Bells . Large squares . Mausolea . Necropolises . Pyramids . Tomb of the Unknown soldier . Zero Mile/Kilometer Markers .
Volga Basin .
Cold War . Congresses and Conferences . Coronation Locations . Diplomatic Missions of Joseon Envoy Min Yonghwan . Insurrections .
Human Activity
Armouries . Communism . Mummies . Olympic Venues . Re-routed rivers .
Individual People
Che Guevara . Ivan the Terrible . King Chulalongkorn of Siam (Rama V) . Lenin . Mao was here . Mapped or Illustrated by Blaeu . Napoleon was here . Queens and Empresses . Winston Churchill .
Religion and Belief
Cathedrals . Holy Tunic . Marian Shrines .
Built in the 13th century .
Located in a Capital City . Modelled after . On Banknotes . One million visitors or more . Opera . Reportedly haunted locations . Tintin . Tobu World Square .
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