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Moscow, Russia
Introduction   
 
 
Contrary to popular misconception, the Red Square is not named "Red" because of the color of the square's bricks (although they are actually red) or as an allusion to Communism. The Red Square is actually "Krasnaya Ploschad" in Russian. The word "Krasnaya" means "beautiful" in old Russian, but it eventually evolved to mean "red". However which way you call it – beautiful or red – you will be right on the spot when describing this popular tourist destination. It is, after all, the center of the Soviet government. In fact, the Red Square is the government's official address.
 
The Red Square evokes images of victorious military parades, grand celebrations, riots and other historic events. It is also the main entrance to the Kremlin. The name Krasnaya Ploschad was given to the square only in 1650. However, its history goes way back to the late 15th century, when Ivan III had it laid out to serve as a market place. Then known as Torg, or marketplace, this is where farmers and merchants displayed their wares – food, cattle and other livestock. During the late 16th Century, it was called Trinity Square. 
 
The Red Square is a wide expanse of red brick and is considered the central square of the city of Moscow, as all major highways radiate from the square. The view of the square is particularly impressive in the evenings, when the lights illumine the square and reflect the stars glowing from the Kremlin's towers.
 
On a normal day, you can see tourists posing for souvenir pictures at virtually every corner. It is, after all, among Russia's touristy treasures. The Red Square, along with the Kremlin, was among the first places in Russia that UNESCO proclaimed as part of the World Heritage list. The square itself is filled with must-see sights. With St. Basil's Cathedral standing regally on one side, the imperious Kremlin on the other and monuments devoted to great men of Russia at different points of the square, the square is always filled with tourists and locals. You can also find the remains of Vladimir Lenin, one of Russia's historic personalities here. The mausoleum dedicated to the founder of Socialism is made of shining granite and is regularly recognized during Moscow's grand parades. Parade members pass by to pay homage to the remains. In addition, there is also a monument of the Bolsheviks who defended the country during the 1917 Revolution. 
 
Other sites of interest include the Place of Skulls (Lobnoye Mesto), the GUM department store and the Historical Museum. The Place of Skulls is north of St. Basil's Cathedral. During the tsars' time, this was the place were public executions were made on a circular raised platform. Meanwhile, the GUM department store, which is just beyond Lenin's Mausoleum is a shopping mall for those who consider shopping as their passion. The Historical Museum, on the other hand, is the world's largest museum featuring Russian history. Just beyond that, you can see the Nikolaskaya Tower in the Kremlin. There is also the Iverskaya Chapel with the Resurrection Gates and the Kazan Cathedreal, which has been recently restored.

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