How to visit Red Square in Moscow? What to see in Red Square? We have all heard at least once in our life about Moscow’s Red Square. Finally, why is it so famous? So what is it story? But above all the important question for a future trip to Russia: what can be seen in Moscow’s Red Square? So, let’s find out together, let’s go!
- Red Square: what you need to know 🌟
- The 5 main monuments of Moscow’s Red Square 🥇
- What to do in Red Square? 🍦
- What to see around Red Square? 🖼
1. Moscow Red Square: area, dates and key figures
“КРАСНАЯ ПЛОЩАДЬ” literally translates to red square, but also beautiful square. Moreover, in the past in Russia the word “red” was used to mean “beautiful”.
For us, Moscow’s Red Square, on the other hand, refers above all to the Cold War. It is, indeed, a symbol of Soviet Russia. But you should know that from the 15th century this square had the status of the main square of Moscow. In 1990, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Moscow’s Red Square is entirely pedestrianized and is one of the largest squares in the world. There are no official measurements, the Encyclopedia Brittanica and National Geographic agree on 73,000m². By the way, it is the central point of the city of Moscow. One of the rare times that you see vehicles circulating there is the May 9 military parade.
Virtual tour of Red Square in March. Travel and take a tour of Red Square and Nikolskaya Street from home with our “immersive” Red Square video ! We filmed this video during our trip on the Trans-Siberian.
2. The main monuments of the Red Square in Moscow
There are 6 main monuments to see in Red Square.
Sleep right next to Red Square? The MIRROS hotel is a hotel close to the Kremlin walls, at less than 100 euros per night. Breakfast is a large buffet. The hotel offers double rooms, but also family rooms.
2.1. Moscow Kremlin
The red brick walls are actually the walls of the Moscow Kremlin. The most famous Kremlin tower also overlooks the square. Built in 1491, the Spasskaya Tower is crowned with a red ruby star that lights up at night. The tower clock is the main clock in the city and even in the country. On December 31, she is the one we see on all the screens to make the last count.
However, the entrance to the Kremlin is not on the square. Therefore,all about visiting Kremlin is in this blog post: Moscow Kremlin: how to avoid the queue and 8 things not to miss.
2.1. St. Basil’s Cathedral
St. Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most beautiful monuments of Orthodox art and ultimately the symbol of Moscow and Russia in general. Built in 1561, the cathedral was commissioned by Tsar Ivan The Terrible to celebrate the capture of the city of Kazan. Legend has it that the Czar ordered the cathedral architects to be put out of sight so that they could not reproduce the work. This story then illustrates rather well why it was called The Terrible!
2.3. Lenin’s Mausoleum
It is the most emblematic monument of the Soviet era, because inside the embalmed body of Lenin is exposed. Visiting the mausoleum is free, so it’s good to know. For more info, check out my article on Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow.
2.4. The State Historical Museum
It is a museum specializing in the history of Russia. The building was constructed under the orders of Tsar Peter the Great. The museum, meanwhile, moved there in 1872. However, it is not necessarily the Moscow museum to see as a priority. However, here are some key info. The entrance ticket is 400 RUB. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
2.5. The GUM store
Built in 1893, the GUM was then the largest shopping center in the world and remained so for over ten years! Today, the store has more than 200 boutiques of major luxury brands. It is therefore a good place to stroll and get warm in winter. The facade of GUM is beautifully decorated.
- Opening hours. Every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
2.6. The Church of the Virgin of Kazan
Next to the State History Museum is the Church of the Virgin of Kazan. It seems so small compared to the vastness of the place that we could almost miss it! The building is dedicated to the icon of Our Lady of Kazan. The Church is cited in the writings from 1625. But with the arrival of the Bolsheviks in power, it suffered the sad fate of many religious buildings: it was destroyed in 1936. Then, it was rebuilt in the 1990s in the same place and Alike.
3. What to do in Red Square Moscow?
Before entering the Red Aquare, we do not really realize its size. It is on a mountain: we discover it little by little.
3.1. Visiting the Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow
It is the main monument to visit in Moscow’s Red Square. The interior of the cathedral is unusual, because in total the cathedral is made up of 9 small chapels. So you don’t enter a large space: you go from one room to another through small passages.
- More information, in our blog post dedicated to Saint Basil’s Cathedral
3.2. Stroll, take a tour at GUM and taste a soviet ice cream
At GUM, you can taste the traditional and cult Soviet ice creams, and it is also possible throughout the year. They are very good, I recommend them to you. Another address to remember is on the top floor of the GUM. It’s also a Soviet style canteen, quite good and above all interesting for its prices, surprisingly not very high for Moscow.
3.3. Christmas market on Moscow Red Square
The best time to visit Moscow is certainly the holiday season. The Red Square of Moscow is transformed and becomes then magic: the festive colors, the cheerful atmosphere, the snow! On the Red Square Christmas market there are of course traditional stalls with local products, mulled wine, pancakes and other sweets, but also a beautiful ice rink.
To find out more, read the post: What to do in Moscow in winter?
4. What to see around Moscow’s Red Square?
As Red Square is located in the heart of the city, you should take the opportunity to go and see the interesting places within walking distance. Three pedestrian routes near Red Square are described in our guide to Moscow. It’s a guide that you can use on your smartphone once there, and without an Internet connection. Just save it on your phone before departure.
4.1. Seeing the changing of the Eternal Flame guard: a stone’s throw from Moscow’s Red Square
Before entering the square, on the right, under the red walls of the Kremlin, you can see an eternal flame. It was installed here in 1967 on the tomb of the unknown soldier in order to keep the memory of all those who fought fascism and died from it. The changing of the guard is always an amazing sight. The difference at 90% is rather surprising!
- When? Every hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
4.2. Walking in the Zaryadye Park
This new Moscow park fits perfectly into the city. From the heights of the Zaryadye park, you can see the walls and towers of the Moscow Kremlin. A platform suspended on the Moskva river opens a magnificent unobstructed view of the city! I therefore recommend it without hesitation.
- Where? On the banks of the Moskva, accessible on foot from Red Square, passing in front of the St. Basile Cathedral
- When? Open 24 hours a day
4.3. Seeing the Bolshoi Theater, a 5-minute walk from Moscow’s Red Square
A 10-minute walk from Moscow’s Red Square is the most famous Russian theater in the world – the Bolshoi Theater. Entrance tickets correspond to the prices charged in institutions of this level.
To find out more: How to buy a ticket to the Bolshoi?
4.4. Visiting the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
It is a beautiful museum located 18 minutes’ walk from Red Square. There are treasures from ancient Egypt, paintings by Rembrandt or Cézanne, as well as a fine collection of Impressionism. On the other hand, for Russian fine arts, you should rather visit the Tretyakov Gallery. In addition, on the road towards the museum, one sees the fountains located in the garden which skirts the walls of the Kremlin. These fountains represent famous characters from Russian tales.
4.5. Visiting the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow
The most beautiful cathedral in Moscow, just after Saint Basil. But then bigger and more impressive! First, built in 1883 in memory of Russia’s victory over Napoleon’s army, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was destroyed on Stalin’s orders in 1931. It was rebuilt identically in 2000. It is a 20-minute walk from the Kremlin.
Not only is it a working church, but it is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church. However, we are not allowed to take pictures inside. In addition, too exposed outfits are not tolerated. We wrote a special blog post on Cathedral of Christ the Savior where I give more details on the visit and the possibility of seeing a panorama from the cathedral.
- Where? Ulitsa Volkhonka 15
- Free admission
5. Visit Red Square in Moscow: in summary
Moscow’s Red Square is a lively place where there are always people. Beyond its tourist interest, Moscow’s Red Square is also the heart of the city. In our guide to Moscow, we have several routes that leave or arrive in Red Square.
There are 3 international airports in Moscow. The easiest and the rapid way to go to Red Square isto take an express train to the center, and then to take the subway to the stations Okhodny Ryad or Teatralnaya. Further details can be find in this blog post.
TOP 3 of things to do: visit the St. Basile Cathedral, taste a soviet ice cream in GUM store, take a hot drink on Christmas market (from December to the end of February).
Travel tips for visiting Moscow:
- Most beautiful metro stations in Moscow
- Public transport in Moscow: how does it work?
- How to buy tickets for Kremlin and what to visit?
- Things to visit in Moscow: what to do and to see in Moscow?