Red Square is the famous square in Moscow which used to house huge military parades during the Soviet era.The word "red" doesn't refer to the color of the bricks or to Communism. In Russian, the square is called Krasnaya Ploschad. The word krasnaya means both "red" and "beautiful," and the latter, referring to St. Basil's Cathedral, was the original meaning. The Red Square has several notable places within or framing the space. One of these is Lobnoe mesto.
Lobnoye Mesto, or "Place of Skulls," is a circular raised platform on which public executions were carried out in the days of the tsars. In 1768 next to Lobnoye Mesto the landowner Darya Saltykova, who had tortured 139 of her serfs to death, was exposed to public contempt in the pillory. While a scribe read out the list of her crimes, Saltykova stood with her head bared as an act of humiliation, and a label was hung round her neck with the legend: 'Torturer and Murderess.' After this she was sent to Ivanovsky Convent and confined there for the rest of her days.
Memorial to Minin and Pozharsky.
They were the leaders of the second group of Russian irregular soldiers in 1612, and the memorial was erected in 1818 to the design of the sculptor I. Martos. One of the bas-reliefs depicts how the citizens of Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga responded to Minin's summons by leading their sons to be armed, while the other shows the flight of the Poles from the Kremlin, and the Russian troops chasing after them. Up to 1936 the memorial stood in the centre of Red Square, with Minin symbolically indicating to Pozharsky that the Poles were occupying the Kremlin and calling for its relief.
However, Lenin's Mausoleum was built right opposite the memorial, and Minin's summons to battle was felt to be ambiguous, and the memorial was also a nuisance during parades. An instruction was given for its destruction, but later it was transferred to a position close to St. Basil's Cathedral.
The Mausoleum was built in January 1924 to preserve Lenin's body. The name comes from the grand tomb of King Mausolus of Caria, which was built in Halicarnassus in the fourth century BC. Lenin's coffin was brought from the village of Gorki, where he died, on 23 January and placed in the Hall of Columns of the House of Unions for people to pay their last respects. The same night the architect A.Shchusev was instructed by the government to design and build a temporary mausoleum near the Kremlin walls in which the body would remain until the funeral. Shchusev wandered around Red Square for a long time, and by sunset the design for a wooden mausoleum was prepared. It was in the form of a cube (the symbol of eternity) with a height of three metres. Lenin's body, with its face uncovered, was placed in a glass sarcophagus, and thousands of people filed past each day.
Krupskaya, Lenin's widow, and his brother and sister protested at this blasphemous form of burial, and expressed the wish that he be laid to rest in the earth. However, Lenin's closest political allies were intent on exploiting his body for Bolshevik propaganda and to strengthen their grip on power.
Saint Basil's Cathedral
At the southern end of the square is the elaborate gold-domed building of Saint Basil's Cathedral and also the palaces and cathedrals of the Kremlin. Real official name of this building is "the Cathederal of the Protection of Our Lady on a Dike", but it is better known as "Vasiliy the God's Fool" (or St. Basils in English). It was built in times of Ivan the Terrible in honour of victory of Moscow over Kazan. The building appeared to be so beautiful, that tsar Ivan ordered to blind an architect. Justly he was called Terrible. In 1812, the French army stabled their horses in St.Basil's Cathedral. Before leaving Moscow, Napoleon ordered it to be blown up,but cold, hunger and fear of sabotage by the people of Moscow prevented the order from being carried out.