Red Square: Moscow's star with the wrong name


Moscow is a mystery for every foreigner. But Russias capital is a very good place to enjoy something special. We traveled Moscow for a few days and explored the great unknown among the world cities. 

A foreign country not only with a foreign language, but also with a foreign script. The largest in the world, repeatedly attacked but never defeated. Proud and stubborn to this day, indomitable even if all the other large western states continue to criticize. Russia is different, as is its capital Moscow. You must have seen that. Read part 1 of the story here

The Red Square, a safe place
The Red Square, a safe place

The square, which has seen and experienced so much history, was once celebrated as one of the seven wonders of the world. Here once paraded the victorious troops of the Soviet Union after the triumph over Nazi Germany, here lowered are the flags of the defeated, here lies Lenin buried in his mausoleum, here stands the famous department store Gum and here once paraded early nuclear missiles launchers before Grandfather Stalin.

The heart of the city

It’s the heart of the city - and the country
It's the heart of the city - and the country

Today, Red Square in the heart of the Russian capital, Moscow, is still occasionally a parade ground. But otherwise, on all normal days, the place more closely resembles Times Square in New York or Shibuya Junction in Tokyo or Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Not so much ordinary Russians are here on the road, certainly not Muscovites.

Young soldier, old traditions
Young soldier, old traditions

They are tourists from all over the world and visitors from distant parts of the largest country in the world. They come, they walk around and they marvel at what a few years ago 1,100 masons, road builders, stonemasons, locksmiths and restorers have impressively renovated: A long stretched square, bordered on one side by the Kremlin wall with the Spassky Tower and Lenin's Mausoleum, on the other by St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kazan Cathedral, the State Historical Museum and the GUM Gallery.

The way to the place to be
The way to the place to be

Red Square is no bigger than three soccer fields, he is located in the heart of the city, is 330 meters long and 70 meters wide, with an area of 23,100 square meters. In 1990 he was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, at that time still blackened by the industrial soot of the Soviet years. During the last recently completed construction work, more than 30,000 cubic meters of earth were moved, over 12,500 granite blocks were placed, and nearly 75,000 square meters of pavement were reconstructed between the historical museum and St. Basil's Cathedral.

St. Basil’s Cathedral
St. Basil's Cathedral

Ukrainian granite

The slabs at the Lenin Mausoleum are now again from the original red Ukrainian granite, and the memorial complex for the heroes of the revolution has been redesigned. The carillon at the Spassky Tower, the clockwork and the sculptures at this world-famous landmark of the city received a rejuvenation, the brown-red Kremlin walls a weatherproof protective coating.

It looks a lot larger as it is
It looks a lot larger as it is

For generations of Muscovites, Red Square was sacred, for millions around the world, the scene of great cinema hits such as "Red Heat" or "Kjames Bond" is a mystical place of attraction. To this day, the historic ensemble is associated with the memorable events of the Great October Socialist Revolution, with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's, the first ruler of the Soviet Union, with the landing of the peace pilot Mathias Rust, with the jubilant reception for the world's first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, and with the coup against the government after the end of the Soviet state.

Nearly 1000 years old

Ready to meet Tsarina Katarina?
Ready to meet Tsarina Katarina?

Those who come here today are first struck by how large and empty the square seems, lying in the shadow of the Kremlin wall, which seems to tower higher than it really is. The square was a waste product at the end of the 15th century, shortly after the construction of the Kremlin walls there was simply space left over. It was named after the color of the bricks of the buildings surrounding the square. In the beginning, the walls were made of white limestone. But because the Russian word Krasnaya (Красная), which means "red", still stood for "beautiful" in the old Russian language.

At the backstreet the police is waiting
At the backstreet the police is waiting

An understandable choice of name, as Red Square is truly a "Beautiful Square." Fortunately, Lenin never got his way, who wanted to transform Moscow into a city that was artistically thought out and "comfortable" for its inhabitants. What that would have looked like can be seen in the Russian capital's new-build suburbs: faceless and drab, with skyscrapers like anywhere else in the world.

Great churches around

But around Red Square, everything has remained rather village-like, more village-like at least than in New York or Berlin. Police officers walk patrols, unagitated. Soldiers lay wreaths at the graves on the Kremlin wall, where deserving leaders of communism lie. At the Gum department store, advertising billboards gleam. And just across the street at St. Basil's Cathedral, which looks like a blob castle, the bus for the city tours stops, which you should definitely use.

At the wall of the Kremlin the communists buried their heros
At the wall of the Kremlin the communists buried their heros

Where there are tourists, there are, of course, the employees of the tourist industry: Stalin suddenly appears here, then Lenin, the actually mummified Bolshevik leader of the early years.Tsarina Katarina is there, Ivan the Terrible and Prince Yuri Dolgoruki, the man, who is said to have started building the Kremlin in 1157. As brutal and terrible as Russia's centuries-long feudalistic history has been, the square today seems light and easy.

St. Basils _ in german: a kleckerburg
St. Basils _ in german: a kleckerburg

A place for executions

That hundreds of rebellious strikers were executed here in 1698 to 1699 on the orders of Peter the Great is hard to imagine, but true. And that is precisely part of the fascination that Red Square exudes: families stroll by, tourists marvel, lovers kiss, Marx and stalin pose for photos, and the Moskva River rushes by next door. But horrible ghosts are everywhere, when you ready to think about them.

Every year in may they’re celebrating the victory over the Nazis
Every year in may they're celebrating the victory over the Nazis

While some of the buildings around the square can be visited for free, others require a ticket. But all entrance fees are cheap and can mostly be bought online, so you can avoid the queues at the Kremlin. A special advise at last: You also have to visit Red Square at night, when the lights shine and the wonderful illumination creates its own magic.

(will be continued)

Thank you for reading and if you like my work please follow me          on HiveTravelfeed or Steem or visit my homepage koenau.de

A few more pictures for you:

On the left the famous Spasski Tower
On the left the famous Spasski Tower

The old soviet signs are everywhere
The old soviet signs are everywhere

Climbers on a roof near the Red Square
Climbers on a roof near the Red Square

Young soldiers waiting for a parade
Young soldiers waiting for a parade

Keep watching and don’t move
Keep watching and don't move

Another hero, Marshall Zhukow
Another hero, Marshall Zhukow

A whole town as hero: Leningrad
A whole town as hero: Leningrad

And the man behind the revolution, now a mummie in a marble house
And the man behind the revolution, now a mummie in a marble house

At the dawn
At the dawn

Und the clouds
Und the clouds

Into the night
Into the night

The red star of Spasski
The red star of Spasski

Lights are glowing
Lights are glowing

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