If you’re heading to Russia, chances are your main inspiration for a visit was Moscow’s infamous Red Square. I have to admit, on approaching the complex and seeing the St. Basil’s Cathedral colourful spires for the first time I was incredibly excited!
When you think of Moscow, your first thoughts are usually grey and soviet-era buildings without a hint of colour or character. But, the Red Square is full of life and vibrancy. As you walk around you will be joined with tourists at all times of day, but you can still get some good snaps with a bit of patience! Here’s some highlight’s and things to see;
- St Basil’s Cathedral
Without doubt one of the most famous cathedrals in the whole world, St. Basil’s is truly the gem of the square. With its bright marshmallow-like peaks, intricate but bold architecture and stunning location is it any wonder?
If you’re after some good lighting for your selfies try going around sunset. It truly makes the colour of the cathedral come alive and will bring out all it’s grandeur on offer. I found that in the morning the lighting was behind the cathedral and so caused some shadow. It may be busier, but watching the sun setting over the red square is so romantic that you’ll hardly notice.
GUM is more of an institution than a shopping mall in Moscow where tourists and locals visit to do some (window) shopping! It has a long history and it’s definitely on the more expensive side with designer brands featuring on all levels. It’s perfect for a snoop around at any time and especially if it’s raining. Something you definitely will be guaranteed to afford however is the colourful perfectly formed ice creams which are on offer for around 50 roubles each (50p). Every other person you will come across in there will have one in hand and for good reason, it’s tasty ice cream! You can grab one at the fountain or catch the ice-cream cycle riding around the mall. Don’t fancy ice cream? You can also try a popular syrup based drink in many flavours and hot waffles too.
One of the finer things to enjoy while you’re here is a visit to the Beluga Caviar Bar. Beluga is one of the more popular Vodkas on offer and is widely consumed by locals in Moscow. Distilled in Siberia, Beluga is known to be crisp and clear. It is positively scandalous not to try the Vodka-Caviar combination and why not try it at it’s finest? You will be surrounded by Art-Deco glamour and even see the Beluga fish in their tank as you dine.
3. State Historical Museum
With the inside promoting Russia’s colourful history, the outside of the building compliments the square by boasting its rouge colour with white and gold trimmings. As you walk around you’ll notice it’s presence and stand in awe of its style and intricacy of it’s design.
4. Kazan Cathedral
This pretty Orthodox church stands in the north west corner of the square with it’s gold spires and peachy pink and green pattern. If you do decide to venture inside the building it is a working church, not a museum and so tourists are reminded to respect the building and it’s practices. Photography is not allowed and women may wish to cover their head.
5. Lenin Mausoleum
The Red Square is home to Lenin’s resting place and if you don’t know who he is I’ll provide a brief history lesson. Vladimir Lenin was a Russian Communist Revolutionary, Politician and leader of the Soviet Union in the 1920’s. He was widely known for his ruthless pro-communist regimes and for making Russia a one party Communist state. I’ll leave you to have a look for yourself on the finer details but he is, even today, a widely respected figure in Russian history who commands the upmost respect from the its people. So much so, that he was embalmed not buried or cremated and his body lays in a casket for all future generations to visit. You can visit the tomb for yourself from 9.30am but it is closed on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays.
6. The Kremlin Wall
Another thing to spot is the Kremlin wall which runs past the Red Square. This powerful wall with its many Kremlin Towers (all with their own unique names), was built to protect the Royal family, palaces and cathedrals. You can buy a ticket to tour inside the Kremlin via the ticket office in the Alexander Gardens on the day or in advance. The clocktower was one of my favourite features of the square and its spire wears the communist star which shines bright at night. A must see!
7. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Although not technically in the Red Square, you can go and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is a memorial which commemorates all the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. The fire is constantly burning and the Guards keep a watchful eye at all times. You can watch the changing of the guard ‘show’ on the hour every hour, but it does get swarmed with tourists in the mornings so get there around quarter to to make sure you can see!
Do you have any recommendations for the Red Square? Have any pictures to share? Comment below!