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TEXT С. RED SQUARE




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Red Square has witnessed many important events in the life of Russian people. Though time has changed the face of Red Square it' has remained the main square and the heart of the city.

Visitors from home and abroad stream here to enjoy the beauty of the historic buildings and monuments of which the Kremlin comes first. The Kremlin represents centuries of Russian history and one is usually struck by the austere and powerful appearance of its walls and towers.

Like the Tower of London the Kremlin was used as a fortress and a sovereign's residence. Now it houses the President's office and a number of museums including the Armory Chamber and the Diamond Fund.

In the centre of the square by the Kremlin wall is the Lenin Mausoleum, erected in 1930 by A. Shchusev. The architect interpreted the traditions of the pyramids in a modem way and gave the monument a laconic architectural form which was popular in the twenties. Behind the Mausoleum there is a necropolis of some outstanding statesmen and political leaders.

On the southern side of Red Square is St. Basil's Cathedral (Vasily Blazheny), a masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture. It was built in 1555 — 61 in memory of the victory over Kazan (1552). The monument standing in front of the Cathedral tells us of the people's victory over the Polish invaders in 1612. The inscription on the monument reads: "To Citizen Minin and Prince Pozharsky from a grateful Russia". The monument is the work of I. Martos (1752—1835). Not far from the Cathedral is what is called the Lobnoye Mesto, a platform of white stone more than 400 years old. The tsar's edicts were proclaimed there. Public executions were carried out on a wooden scaffold erected nearby. To the right of the Cathedral on the territory of the Kremlin we can see a tall tower, more like a column, over 80 metres high. It is the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great built in the 15th century. There are twenty-two large bells and over thirty small ones in it. For centuries the eastern side of Red Square had been associated with trading. The first stone shops were built here in the 16th century. Today on their site stands the State Department Store, better known as GUM.



If we walk up from St. Basil's to the opposite end of the square we face a red brick building. This is the History Museum. In the west Red Square is adjoining the Kremlin. Just on the other side of the Kremlin wall we can see the building of the former Senate, an outstanding architectural monument built by Matvei Kasakov (1738—1813), now the seat of the Administration of the President. A number of watch-towers protect the Kremlin bridges. The white Kutafya Tower is the best survivor of all of them. The tallest one is the Trinity Tower (80 m high). But the Spasskaya Tower with the Kremlin clock has long since become one of the symbols of Moscow.


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