Red Square, with an average length of 400 m (440 yd) and average breadth of150 m (165 yd), is the central square not onlyof Moscow, but of the whole of Russia. Since the time of Ivan III(15th century), this has been the scene of great public events,mainly political - rallies, demonstrations, and processions. In earliertimes, Red Square was also a place of execution.
Its name, however, does not come from the blood which has been spilled here: in Old Slavonic "Krasny"("red") also meant "beautiful", since red was regardedas a particularly beautiful colour. The translation "Red Square"(instead of "Beautiful Square") which is now universally used,became established only in the 20th century.
Originally the approach to the Kremlin from Red Square was protected by a moat, 32 m (105 ft) wideand 12 m (40 ft) deep, between the Neglinnaya and the Moskva Rivers. Duringthe reconstruction and rebuilding carried out under the direction of Osip I.Bove to repair the damage caused by the French in 1812, the moatwas filled in, the Neglinnaya was bricked over, and the drawbridges infront of the Saviour Tower and St.NicholasTower were removed. Russian people say: "Red Square is theheart of Russia".
© State Museums of the Moscow Kremlin.
© 1996-1999. Cominfo Ltd. All rights reserved.