|This is where the mother of all military parades was
held every May Day.
The name Red Square actually
antedates the Soviet era. In Russian it is Krasnaya
Ploshchad, which in the 17th century meant
"beautiful square." Over time, the meaning of
the word "Krasnaya" evolved to mean
|Looking south, the Spassky Tower (with clock); left
of center, Lenin's Tomb.
|Looking east on the left is the GUM
Department Store; Center, the Rossiya Hotel, the
modern structure; Right, St.
Basil's. If you had been part of the May Day parade,
this is the view you would have had as you neared the
midway point of the square.
|Looking west. Left, Lenin's Tomb.
Center, with star, Nikolskaya Tower. To the right is the
Istoricheskiy Muzey (Historical Museum), the red brick
building with twin towers. It meant to exhibit, through 4
million items, the history of the peoples of the USSR.
Kind of a Soviet Smithsonian. The Istoricheskiy was
designed in 1878 by Vladimir Sherwood (there's a solid
sounding Russian name for you.) In Soviet days, May Day
marchers entered to the left and to the right of this
building. The Iberian Gate (see below) is partly hidden
by the trees on the right.
|This is the Iberian Gate, one of the two entrances on
the north end of Red Square. It's in such good shape that
it looks new; in fact it is new, having just been
rebuilt. In Soviet days it functioned as an effective
tank trap to impede the May Day march. The sight of big
missiles trundling through the portals must have made for
some potent symbolism. It was demolished during the
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