There's a million metro stations near the Red Square! So just find the center on the metro map and go there... We arrived at Aleksandrovsky Sad metro station and go up exactly in the small but nice garden with fountains under the Kremlin Walls.
The map of our visit with corresponding descriptions you can find on the following map:
1. Getting the Kremlin Tickets
Here you can also find the ticket office to the Moscow Kremlin. I'll tell you the small secret... There's several ticket offices inside this building with a lot of people usually. However, at the end you can find the special ticket machine that is usually free. So you can buy tickets for 5-10 minutes instead of 30-60 minutes in the office. However, I always recommend to buy online; sometimes it even works...
2. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Then we go straigt to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Second World War ended many years ago... But still it has a great impact on Russians. Every family was affected by this War some way. We do not know the exact number of people that was killed. Probably, 20-30 millions of people. It's even not easy to imagine.
Many soldiers still lay somewhere unburied. A lot of volonteers are looking for them to bury at the special cemetories saving the memory. Usually, it's not possible to even learn their names. So all European Russia has thousands of such graveyards.
Changing The Guard
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a tomb of the soldier that was killed in Moscow in 1941. Now it's the memorial of all victims of WWII. To the left of the tomb is a granite wall with a stating: "1941 - To Those Who Have Fallen For The Motherland - 1945". To the right of the tomb is a line of red block with names of hero cities.
Guard changes every hour. Usually, a lot of people go watching this. Only best soldiers are honoured to serve in the Presiden Regiment. Actually, they are conscripts of 18-19 years old and they are the single persons who live in the Kremlin. Barracks are located just behind the Kremlin Walls near The Tomb.
Best place to protest
Then we go further to the Monument of Marshal Zhukov, famous commander of the Red Army. On our way there we see a man with some flags and signs. He protesting against the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 hardly arguing with another person about our past and future.
You know, political life in Russia takes very special place in our hearts. 50% of Russian still wants USSR back, other 50% thinks that US government is guilty in all our problems (increasing fare prices and some new potholes on our roads). 1.46% of people still doesn't know that USSR has collapsed.
3. Zero Kilometer
Russia is really huge! All these kilometers need to be count. So here is the Zero Kilometer, just few steps from the Red Square. People have interesting tradition.. they throw money back standing on the Zero Kilometer to have a luck.
And here is a wonder of Russian economy! Simple way to twice GDP and start living (and finally show Kuzkina Mat' to America). One woman throw away the coin to have a luck and another one collects them having a fortune!
Red Square Gates
Just a Red Square gates with a boring story behind. Don't listen to it, just go with a crowd!
About the crowd... In the summer, especially in the holidays millions of people go there! What is even worse, Red Square has very special schedule... It might be closed in the evening or for the whole day in case of some celebration. So choose a right time for visit!
Why It's Red?
Why the Red Square named red? Here's top 3 versions from my customers:
Top 3. Blood of Russian that was executed in this square during mid ages
Top 2. Communism -> red flag -> bloody USSR
Top 1. Buildings and Kremlin wall are made of red bricks
Unfortunately, true story is too boring... The word "red" means beautiful in Russian... So it's just "beautiful square"
4. State Historical Museum
This red building looks older then it is in reallity, It was build in 19th century as State Historical Museum. Ironically to build a museum of history, the real hisorical building was destroyed. Inside it is impressive, but most information has no English translation. If you love museums you should go in, if you get bored just hearing the word "museum", just go further.
5. GUM Luxury Mall
GUM has not changed since the day it was built in the late 19 century. Initially, it was a luxure store for the most fancy and famous brands of that times. During the Soviet time it was still a luxury shop with mostly Soviet and Eastern European brands. Nowadays, all world-known brands are back.
GUM is not only a luxury mall, but also a touristic attraction. If you want to have very special service, just visit luxury "Гастроном N1" with a caviar bar, vodka and Beluga. If you just stroll, do not forget to buy cheap and tasty ice cream. Can you see the long line of people on the second photo? They are heading for the ice cream!
6. Lenin Mausoleum
It's easy to notice some strange red building just near the President's Office. Lenin was a kharismatic leader of Russian Revolution. When he died in the January of 1924, it was a huge question for allother leaders how to memorize Lenin in the best way.
It was a cold winter, so body was perfectly preserved due to the low temperatures. Many people came to Moscow to bid farewell. So till the end of the winter, body layed in the small wooden mausoleum in the Red Square. In the spring everything started melting...
We don't know why, but at that times leaders decided to create a personality cult of Lenin. They mumified the body and put it back to another wooded mausoleum at the same place. Only in 1930s these red building was build becoming the sacral place, the ziggurat of the main God of the Communost Pantheon.
Ironically, that the creator of communist Russia nowadays works as a tourist attraction in the capitalistic world.
7. President Office
Standing in the middle of the Red Square and looking at the Mausoleum behind the Kremlin Wall, you see huge building with the Russian flag at the top. This is the office of Russian President (hope, you know his name). No, he does not live here! He lives in the residence outside of Moscow and have his own helicopter to prevent traffic jams.
8. St. Basil's Cathedral
The cathedral was built in 16th century when Ivan The Terrible captured Kazan. At that time, he ruled the country trying to expand the territory conquering neighbors. St. Basil is the nickname of the Cathedral. He was a blessed man who was living near the cathedral at the time when it was built.
Indeed, this is not the cathedrall but many churches built at the one foundation. This makes monyment so unusual. Inside, there's no one chamber but several small connected with each other. The building is shaped like the flame rising into the sky. This design has no parallel in Russian architecture. This cathedral is one of the most recognizable symbol of Moscow.
9. Spasskaya Tower
Kuranty at Spasskaya Tower is same what Big Ben is for London. Not more, not less.You see it on all Kremlin photos... postcards, Internet, everywhere!
In Russia, we count seconds till the beginning of the New Year every 31 December. Seniors watch TV with The Bell Clocks, youth watch online on YouTube, a lot of people go to the Red Square and celebrate. Usually people prepare dishes during all 31 December just to wait until Spasskaya Bell strikes last 10 seconds of the year. Then we open the shampagne and finally celebrate. At least several people every year have an injury from the plug hitting in the eye...
10. Best View
Walking in the Moscow center, do not forget to cross the river and take several amazing pictures. You see the Kremlin with a Big Kremlin Palace and Uspensky Sobor inside. Unfortunately, you can't see the Red Square; however, there's a great view on the Christ The Savior Cathedral.