Friday, May 6, 2016

Moscow - The Red Square

Date of visit: 23rd & 24th October 2015

Due to a short plan stay in Moscow, we have selected the most nearest Hotel Element which is accessible to the Red Square in just 10 minutes walk. It gave us an opportunity to have a closer look of what was there to see at both night and day scenery. Sadly that the weather was not on our side on both days we arrived and departed. The cloudy weather in anticipation of rain had forced away the blue sky during our presence. Hence, it has very much affected the quality of our photo. I was/am not happy with what I snapped. Secondly, we only managed to enter and had a quick tour inside the Saint Basil Cathedral before we hurried away to catch a plane back to Kuala Lumpur. It was so tempting to enter the gate leading to the Kremlin Wall but reality struck us. With so little time left, it was impossible to visit the 2 famous building at that time.

The main attraction among all in the Red Square, the colorful Mushroom Cathedral

The Square with The Gum, Saint Basil cathedral, Kremlin Wall & Spasskaya Tower and Lenin Mausoleum in view

Red Square is a famous city square or a plaza in Moscow. Everybody who came to visit must dropped by to have their memories recorded in this place, including us. It was built with an intention to separates the square with the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow since Moscow's major streets, which connect to Russia's major highways, originate from this square. 2 photos above were snapped in a day time that clearly show how famous the square are to both local and foreign tourist. The other 2 photos, below snapped at night time as I was in awe to see the magnificent Kremlin wall that divides the 2 areas. 

Kremlin Tower and Lenin Mausoleum

The Lenin Mausoleum guarded by Security

The name Red Square does not originate from the pigment of the surrounding bricks, which, in fact, were whitewashed at certain periods nor from the link between the color red and communism. Rather, the name came from a Russian word “krasnaya, which means "red," applied to a small area between St. Basil's Cathedral, the Spassky Tower of the Kremlin, and the Lobnoe Mesto (place of execution). Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich officially extended the name to the entire square, which had previously been called Pozhar, or "burnt-out place", in reference to the fact that several buildings had to be burned down to make place for the square.

GUM Department Store, night view and day view that can be seen in below photo

GUM, when without illuminating from the building and the  flood lights

The name became official in the middle of the 17th century though previously it had been Trinity Square, due to the Trinity Cathedral, the predecessor of St. Basil's. It was also popularly known as 'Fire Square', reflecting the number of fire incidents happened during medieval time where Moscow was burned down. During the Mongol and Tartar invasions, it was the site of fierce fighting, and right up until the end of the 17th century cannon stood ready to defend the square. There are the following significant buildings that clustered around the square, the GUM (one of the world's greatest shops has regained its prestige, and has prices to match), Saint Basil Cathedral, The Statue of Minin and Pozharsky, The Resurrection Gate and the Iberian Chapel, Kazan Cathedral, the Kremlin Wall, The Lenin Mausoleum and the State Historical Museum.

The Statue of Minin and Pozharsky
Kazan Cathedral

Red Square came into its own in the 20th Century, when it was most famous as the site of official military parades demonstrating to the world the might of the Soviet armed forces. Two of these will be remembered forever. The first was the parade of 7 November 1941, when columns of young cadets marched through the square and straight on to the frontline, which by that point was less than 50km from Moscow. The second was the victory parade on 24 June 1945, when two hundred Nazi standards were thrown in front of the mausoleum and trampled by mounted Soviet commanders in celebration. The year 2000 saw the return of troops to Red Square, with a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War Two.

The Resurrection Gate and the Iberian Chapel
The memorial of Russian Soviet Army at the exit gate outside the Kremlin War

Since Perestroika (a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of teh Soviet Union during the 980's), however, the emphasis has moved away from official pomp, and Red Square has been used increasingly for rock concerts, big classical music performances and a whole range of large-scale events from fashion shows to festivals of circus art. Moscow met the millennium here with a huge firework display and street party. Today it is hard to think of a place that is more beloved of Muscovite (the inhabitants of Moscow) and visitors to the city than the Red Square. The varied beauty of the architecture and the magical atmosphere belie the square's often brutal and bloody history, but the combination makes Red Square a truly fascinating place that you'll want to come back to again and again. Indeed, I shall return with my whole family or maybe some of them to continue my train ride from Moscow to Beijing. That trip would be a modified itineraries, not following 100% of original Trans-Siberian straight route.

The last 2 photos above are none other than the State Historical Museum, a museum of Russian history wedged between Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow. Its exhibitions range from relics of prehistoric tribes that lived on the territory of present-day Russia, through priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty. The total number of objects in the museum's collection comes to millions. We did not entered inside to see what it has to offer. I'm very sure that when I return next to the city, I would be able to spend a whole day to explore what was left, i.e. the Spasskaya Tower, the attraction inside the Kremlin War, the Iberian Chapel, pay my respect to Lenin and most important among all is to have a pleasant nice meal inside the Gum.

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