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Janaline's World Journey “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Moscow Red Square a dream come true!!!

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Sunday, 10 June 2012 | Views [1099]

The Red Square!!! Was amazing to walk across it!!

The Red Square!!! Was amazing to walk across it!!

My Russia adventure has started!!!  
The unknown, the secretiveness of this city pulled me towards it.
 
Moscow is a city of superlatives. It boasts the most billionaires, the most expensive cups of coffee, at £4 a cup this is definitely true, and the most churches located in one city!!!!  It is also the most expensive and, according to one poll, the most unfriendly city in the world, although I have to disagree with that last statement. The more you get to know Russians, the more you realize they are actually friendly and helpful.
 
 
The first place I had to visit and walk across was definitely the Red Square!!!!
 
Before I walked through the gates and entered the Red Square I crossed a plaque that marks the middle point of Moscow. From here all distances are measured and it is seen as good luck to stand in the middle of this circle and throw money into the air. Means you will definitely return so I made sure to wait my turn and then stand on the spot to throw my coin into the air. There are a couple of old ladies “babushka” standing around and as soon as your coin hits the ground they scramble to pick it up.
 
 
 
I found that the Red Square remains, as it has been for centuries, the heart and soul of Moscow. Few places in the world bear the weight of history to the extent that Moscow's central square does.
 
 
Walking across the Square I take in the grandeur of centuries. With The Kremlin to your left, St Basil’s cathedral in front of you and the famous GUM shopping centre to your right as you enter the Red Square, I can’t help but be amazed. No matter how many times I walk across the Red Square, it stays mystical.
 
 
 
It’s hard to believe that the Red Square began life as a slum, a shanty town of wooden huts clustered beneath the Kremlin walls that housed a collection of peddlers, criminals and drunks whose status left them outside the official boundaries of the medieval city. It was cleared on the orders of Ivan III at the end of the 1400's, but remained the province of the mob, the site of public executions, and rabble rousing, until much later.
 
The square's name has actually nothing to do with communism or with the colour of many of its buildings. In fact it derives from the word 'krasnyi', which once meant 'beautiful', and has only come to mean 'red' in contemporary Russian.
 
 
 
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. Each year since 2000 the troops return to Red Square, with a parade to mark the anniversary of the end of World War Two.
 
Today it's hard to think of a place that is more beloved of Muscovites and visitors to the city. 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 I want to come back to again and again.
 

Tags: janaline smalman, moscow, red square, russia, sightseeing, travel

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