In Moscow Red Means Beautiful


Moscow’s Red Square (Krasnaya Ploshchad) is known for its political symbolism, but it was actually named for its loveliness: Krasnaya, or “red,” meant “beautiful” in old Russian. 

Interesting facts:

-Geometrics: Red Square is actually a rectangle, sprawling 800,000 square feet.

-Rest in Peace: The body of Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union’s first dictator who died in 1924, has been on display since 1930 in the granite tomb that flanks the square. His mummy is swabbed weekly with bleach to fight discoloring and mold.

-I Spy: Perched atop the Kremlin walls, the brick Tsar’s Tower may look like the top of a fairytale castle, but it has ominous origins. Five centuries ago, Ivan the Terrible spied on his subjects from the tower (formerly a wooden turret).

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For luxury shoppers: Another favorite feature in the heart of the Red Square is GUM. The square’s Victorian Gosudarstvenny Universalny Magazin (GUM) opened in 1893 with more than 1,000 shops. Today it’s an outlet for luxury goods. Top brands like Chanel, Cartier and Max Mara have fancy stores here. GUM does seasonal pop up stores and displays - this time I enjoyed their nostalgic farming and Soviet grocery store experience.

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