About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Friday, January 30, 2009

Visiting Red Square

As your local guide brings you into Red Square close your eyes and perhaps you’ll hear the goose steps of the Red Army as it displays its military might through Red Square. Red Square offers a contrast of Communist relics and emerging Capitalism. Visit the eerie resting place of Lenin, GUM Department store, or go back further in time to the Kremlin and Tsarist Russia.

Sorry, just a flashback. On the surface Red Square is just a giant square in the heart of Moscow. But there is so much history around Red Square that one must visit when in Moscow.

Possibly the most interesting thing in Red Square is Lenin's Tomb. Going through might have been one of the eeriest experiences of my life. It was a bright sunny day... Inside the tomb it's quite dark with black marble (I think). You walk down some stairs where there are some guards, sometimes as many as 6 in one spot. You're not allowed to bring cameras and once inside you are not permitted to stop, put your hands in your pockets or do anything other then walk around Lenin's body. Inside the room with his body you walk around the body single file and then out of the room. His body is in a glass box and you can only really see his head - which looks like paraffin wax. When you leave the room you walk back up a set of stairs and back outside. The whole process takes just 2 or 3 minutes, but it's worth every moment of the 30 minutes we waited on line to get in.

Also at Red Square is GUM department store. Under Communism it was a mall where Russians waited hours on line for goods. Today it is a high end department store. The architecture in the building is fantastic, but the stores are expensive. I would suggest visiting GUM first to see the beauty of the building, second for the shopping.

The Kremlin is also worth a visit. I'll admit to not having much of a memory of the Kremlin as I was quite tired when I visited. I do remember there being a lot of relics from the past, most notably was a large collection of original Faberge Eggs that Tsar Nicolas had purchased for his wife and mother.

St. Basil Cathedral is also in Red Square. It is often shown on TV shows and documentaries as being the Kremlin. It served as a church when it was built in the 1500's and is now a museum.