Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Red Square Walking Tour (Self Guided), Moscow

Located in the heart of Moscow, the Red Square is regarded to be the central square of the whole Russia. It is also one of the most famous squares in the whole world. Spend 3 hours to this self guided tour and enjoy the sights of the heart of Moscow.
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Red Square Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Red Square Walking Tour
Guide Location: Russia » Moscow (See other walking tours in Moscow)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: audrey
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Iberian Gate and Chapel
  • Kazan Cathedral
  • GUM Department Store
  • Lobnoye Mesto
  • Monument to Minin and Pozharsky
  • St. Basil's Cathedral
  • Spasskaya Tower
  • Senatskaya Tower
  • Lenin's Mausoleum
  • Nikolskaya Tower
  • State Historical Museum
1
Iberian Gate and Chapel

1) Iberian Gate and Chapel

The Iberian Gate and Chapel, also known as the Resurrection Gate, is the main entrance to Moscow's Red Square. The gate connects to both Moscow City Hall and the State Historical Museum, and is the only gate of the Kitai-Gorod.

Erected in 1535, this red-brick gate connects the north-western end of Red Square with Manege Square. The Iberian Virgin is well-known for its miraculous abilities. Local legend says that blood flowing from the icon’s face caused a war to end. It is also said that even imperial family would visit the icon and pray alongside their subjects when they traveled to Moscow.

The original gate was built in 1535. In 1680, two-story chambers and an icon of the resurrection were added to the gate. A gilt angel and cross were added to the dome of the chapel at a later date. The chapel is home to a replica of the icon of Panaghia Portaitissa, an Eastern Orthodox representation of Virgin Mary. Many miracles have been attributed to people praying in front of this icon. In 1931, the Kremlin demolished the gate and chapel in order to make more room for military parades. In 1994, the gate and chapel were reconstructed.
2
Kazan Cathedral

2) Kazan Cathedral

Built to celebrate victory over the Lithuanians and Polish, the Kazan Cathedral is famous for being the home of the Kazanskaya Icon, a symbol of the Virgin Mary who is the guardian and patroness of the city of Kazan. It is rumored that the Kazanskaya Icon possesses supernatural abilities.

The Kazan Cathedral was and is a very important church. Celebrations were held at the church during the reign of the Tsars each year to celebrate the victory of Moscow over the Lithuanians and the Polish. In addition, prayer services were conducted during the Napoleonic wars at the icon to ensure Moscow’s safe delivery.

The design of the house of worship is based on the Basilica of Saint Peter’s. Due to a fire, the original wooden cathedral was replaced with a stone building. From 1929 to 1932, the building was home to the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism. The stone building could not escape destruction by the Bolsheviks in 1936. The current building, reconstructed in 1993, is a replica of the original. The cathedral is once again a working cathedral with church services being conducted daily. An interesting side note is that the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism, renamed the Museum of the History of Religion, shares premises with the church.

Why You Should Visit:
Nice at night as well as in the daytime for a photo stop, and worth going in for a little while to enjoy listening to Russian Orthodox chant. The entire service, except for the sermon, is sung.
Inside, you will find a small but highly decorative interior with iconic images and other items associated with the Russian Orthodox faith.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-8pm
3
GUM Department Store

3) GUM Department Store (must see)

GUM or Glavny Universalny Magazin, is a famous shopping center located on the Red Square. Formerly known as the State Department Store, or the Upper Trading Rows, this shopping center is well known for its exclusive stores that carry brand name labels that are well-known in the western world.

GUM was built in the 1800s by architect Alexander Pomerantsev and engineer Vladimir Shukhov. The top floor of the shopping center used to contain a secret store, Section 101, which only high ranking members of the Communist party could access.

The mall was converted into office space during the Stalin era. In the 1950s, GUM once again became a popular shopping center that, unlike other stores, did not suffer from shortages of inventory. In the 1990s, GUM was privatized and became the Mecca for many western vendors.

Shopping isn’t the only thing one can do. Many cultural events and artistic events take place at the center. Russian figure skaters are known to visit the grand skating rink. The food that one can enjoy at spots like Café Festivalnoe, Stolovaya № 57, or Gastronome № 1, makes the trip worth the wait. GUM is particularly brilliant at night when the numerous lights that line the building are in full display.

Why You Should Visit:
Huge amount of shops, many high-end shops, as well as some of the best meals near Red Square.
Architecturally it is very intriguing and mesmerizing, with the glass ceiling as the star of the show.
Worth visiting at night as well, when it is lit up magnificently.

Tip:
Try lining up for the special & very popular ice cream kiosks to add up to the experience. Getting ice cream while walking under the amazing glass arcade is quite a treat.
Also, take a moment (and some cash) to 'enjoy' the luxury toilet in place.
4
Lobnoye Mesto

4) Lobnoye Mesto

Lobnoye Mesto, or the Place of the Skulls is a 13-meter long stone podium located in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral on the Red Square in Moscow. Constructed in 1530 by Boris Godunov, this site was used during the tsarist era to make public proclamations and to conduct religious ceremonies such as the donkey walk procession. Vladimir Lenin also used this site to unveil a monument to Stepan Razin, a Cossack rebel who led uprisings against the nobility and the tsar in 1919. The monument was later removed. The round dais makes an impressive statement against the backdrop of eye-catching edifices of the Red Square and is striking when viewed at night against the Russian backlights.

Lobnoye Mesto is also the site where Prince Pozharsky proclaimed victory over Polish aggressors during the Times of Trouble in 1612. A statue of Kuzma Minin and Prince Pozharsky who helped to organize the army that defeated the Polish is nearby. One common misconception about Lobnoye Mesto is that executions were carried out at this location. Most executions were performed at Vasilevsky Spusk, a square between Saint Basil's and Moscow River. The original podium was brick. In 1786, architect Matvei Kazakov reconstructed the podium in white stone.
5
Monument to Minin and Pozharsky

5) Monument to Minin and Pozharsky

The Monument to Minin and Pozharsky is a bronze statue designed by Ivan Martos and located on the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral. The statue commemorates Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who gathered an all-Russian volunteer army and expelled the forces of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth under the command of King Sigismund III of Poland from Moscow, thus putting an end to the Time of Troubles in 1612.

Casting work using 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) of copper was carried out in 1816 in St Petersburg. The base, made of three massive blocks of granite from Finland, was also carved at St Petersburg. Moving the statue and base to Moscow presented logistical challenges and was accomplished in winter by using the frozen waterways. However, in the wake of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, the monument could not be unveiled until 1818.

The front of the base carries a bronze plaque depicting a scene of patriotic citizens sacrificing their property for the benefit of the motherland. On the left is an image of the sculptor Martos giving away his two sons (one of whom was killed in 1813)

Originally, the statue stood in the centre of Red Square, with Minin extending his hand towards the Moscow Kremlin. However, after the 1917 Revolution, the Communist authorities found the monument was obstructing parades on the square and discussed its demolition or transfer to some indoor museum. In 1936, the statue was moved closer to the cathedral where it remains to the present day.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
St. Basil's Cathedral

6) St. Basil's Cathedral (must see)

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Russia, Saint Basil’s Cathedral features eastern style architecture and nine stunning chapels with onion-style domes. Originally named the Trinity Church, this structure was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century to celebrate the capture of Khanate of Kazan from Mongol forces. This stunning and picturesque former house of worship is now a museum that plays hosts to the yearly Day of Intercession service.

Located next to the Kremlin, symmetry and brilliant colors are the focal points of this holy place with eight of the chapels flawlessly surrounding the ninth and highest chapel. In addition, the mosque-like design reflects the influence of the Kazan region and perfectly blends eastern and western influences. The eight towers represent the eight battles on Kazan. The ninth tower, which was added in 1588, is the resting place for Saint Basil. Each chapel is named after a saint and interconnected with each other via passages. Highlights of the cathedral include a garden, 400 plus icons from the 16th and 19th centuries, 19th-century portrait and landscape artwork, and the tomb of Saint Basil.

Why You Should Visit:
The colorful onion-dome exterior and the multiple-chapel structure with many well-kept paintings and wooden carvings make this truly a precious gem for Russia and for photo geeks alike.
Oftentimes small choirs are on hand during the day to showcase the building’s superb acoustics.

Tip:
Don't miss the chance to take the picture for both at noon and at night, which is simply stunning to behold.
There is a new expansive park along the river on the opposite side that has stunning views and camera angles of the Cathedral.
Make sure you check if their tours are open – schedules vary randomly during the week.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-7pm
7
Spasskaya Tower

7) Spasskaya Tower

Originally called Frolovskaya Tower, The Spasskaya Tower was built in 1491 by the Italian architect Pietro Antonio Solari. With a height of 71 meters, Spasskaya Tower was the first tower which was crowned with a hipped roof. The tower has an installed clock on it, commonly known as the Kremlin clock. On the top of the tower there is a red star which was installed in 1935.
8
Senatskaya Tower

8) Senatskaya Tower

The Senatskaya Tower (Russian: Сенатская башня) was built in 1491 by an architect Pietro Antonio Solari and was purely defensive in nature: it guarded the Kremlin on the Red Square side. For a long time it remained nameless. It was only in 1787, after architect Matvei Kazakov constructed the Kremlin Senate on the Kremlin’s territory, that it was given its present name.

The dome of the Senate can be seen from Red Square. Inside the central part of the tower there are three tiers of vaulted chambers. In 1860, the flat tower was topped with a stone tent roof crowned, in turn, with a gilt weather vane. The tower contains a through-passage that allows VIPs to travel from the kremlin to Red Square. Its height is 34.3 metres (113 ft).
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Lenin's Mausoleum

9) Lenin's Mausoleum (must see)

The final resting place of the illustrious former Russian Marxist activist Vladimir Lenin is located in the Red Square by the Kremlin Wall. Almost immediately after the Father of the Revolution’s death in 1924, the Russian people decided that a simple burial would not do. In response to the thousands of telegrams received urging the regime to preserve Lenin’s memory for future generations, the government began the task of constructing a proper resting place for the former radical. The first resting place for Lenin was a wooden tomb constructed by architect Aleksei Shchusev in 1929. The wooden tomb was eventually replaced with one made out of stone.

One of the most interesting facts about the mausoleum is the care taken to preserve Lenin’s corpse. Long rumored to be a wax model, it is indeed Lenin that mausoleum visitors will see. A special and complicated embalming process helps to keep the body presentable to the public. An interesting side note about Lenin’s tomb is that Joseph Stalin was briefly interred near Lenin until the government buried Stalin in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis during its de-Stalinization period.

No photography, video or audio recording of any kind is allowed in the mausoleum. All visitors are searched by staff before entry and visitors are expected to show respect during their visit.

Why You Should Visit:
You get to see Lenin for a minute or so!

Tip:
Remember to keep moving – you won't be there to stop and stare.
It's also important to note that there is no charge for the mausoleum.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat: 10am-1pm (the earlier you get there, the shorter the queue)
10
Nikolskaya Tower

10) Nikolskaya Tower

The Nikolskaya Tower (Russian: Никольская башня) is a tower with a through-passage on the eastern wall of the Moscow Kremlin, which overlooks the Red Square not far from the State Historical Museum.

The Nikolskaya Tower was built in 1491 by an Italian architect Pietro Antonio Solari. It was named after Nikolaevsky (Nikolsky) Greek Monastery, which is no longer there. In 1806, the tower was rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style by an architect Luigi Rusca. In 1812, the top of the tower was blown up by the retreating French army. It was restored in 1816 by an architect Osip Bove. The Nikolskaya Tower was once again severely damaged by the artillery fire in October 1917 and was later restored by an architect Nikolai Markovnikov. In 1935, the Soviets installed a red star on top of the tower.

Its current height with the star is 70.4 metres (231 ft). The original icon of Saint Nicholas of Mozhaysk, placed above the entrance on Red Square had been plastered over by Soviet authorities and was uncovered and restored in 2010 - similar to what took place on the Spasskaya Tower.[
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
State Historical Museum

11) State Historical Museum

Russia is known for its great museums and the State Historical Museum in Moscow lives up to this reputation. Located between Red Square and Manege Square, the museum has a diverse collection that ranges from the prehistoric era through the Romanov era.

The museum was opened in 1894 to mark the coronation of Alexander III and contains over four million items. Shervud and Semenov were the architects of this red-brick, Russian revival style structure. The design of each hall reflects the era that it represents with great detail given to authentically recreating periods from long ago.

The beauty of the palace can only be truly appreciated in person. Visitors will enjoy artwork from the many regions of Russia, jewelry, native costumes, furniture, Russian icons, craft smith work, manuscripts, old books, and the stunning beauty of Russian design. The work of famous and unknown Russian artists is featured in the museum.

Leaflets in English are available as you enter the museum and the café sells coffee, sandwiches, tea, and Russian snack food. The museum is open every day, except the first Monday of each month and Tuesdays, from 11 am through 7 pm. The museum is also open on Thursdays from 11 am through 8 pm. Guided tours are available for groups of 15 by appointment.

Why You Should Visit:
This museum recounts the story of Russian civilization going all the way back to the Stone Age to the very last Tsar.
Items related to the Russian Empire are very impressive, and there's an extensive collection of Russian-Ottoman history.
The ceilings, walls, doorways are art in their own right and are the originals from when the museum was first built, recently restored.

Tip:
Get the audioguide, or you'll get lost or overwhelmed, or both (bring your own earphones!).

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 11am-7pm; closed on Tuesdays

Walking Tours in Moscow, Russia

Create Your Own Walk in Moscow

Create Your Own Walk in Moscow

Creating your own self-guided walk in Moscow is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Moscow Introduction Walk

Moscow Introduction Walk

Moscow is the capital and the largest city in Russia. It is also a major political, cultural, economic and religious center. The city has a big number of places that worth being visited. Take this orientation walk to explore the best attractions Moscow has to offer.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles

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