Every visitor to Moscow is irresistibly drawn to Red Square, the historic and spiritual heart of the city. The name (Krasnaya ploshchad) derives from krasniy, the old Russian word for beautiful. The Lenin Mausoleum squats beneath the ramparts of the Kremlin and, facing it, sprawls GUM – the State Department Store in Soviet times – and now devoted to costly fashion outlets. At the southwest end stands the incomparable St Basil’s Cathedral. Opposite it you’ll find the Historical Museum, directly behind which a golden circle on the ground marks Moscow’s Kilometre Zero. In front of St Basil’s Cathedral is the fenced-off Lobnoe Mesto (Place of Executions) where Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great presided over public beheadings and hangings during their respective reigns.

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