Formerly Red square was called in other way. At first it was called Torg (in English Market), because it served as a place of lively trading. Then, in 16 century the square was called Troitsky – by church Troitsa, which was situated in its southern part (now this church doesn’t exist). And only since 17 century the square has had the present name. The word “red” formerly meant “beautiful”. Perhaps, everybody will agree that the square justifies its name.
The most famous tower, “Spasskay” directed to the square. Spasskaya tower was built under the direction of Solyario in 1491. The surviving shoot place reminds of the fact the tower has a reverse significance. The upper tires, topped with a hipped roof, were overbuilt in 1624-1625. The elaborate carving on the white stone, decorating the tower, is exceptionally rich. At that time the first striking clock was set on it. In 1851-1852 it was changed into chiming clock, made by brothers N. and P. Butenop. Diameter of the chiming clock face is more than 6 m.
Behind Spasskaya tower, down to the river, it the wall forms steps of a huge cogged staircase, on which the towers came to a standstill like sentries. Among them there is the smallest one of only 17 m height – Tsarskaya tower which was built in 1680. And by form it resembles a smart Russian little tower. The top of the next tower – Nabatnaya – is also intricate and colorful. It was built in the same years. Konstantino-Elininskaya tower with the traces of passing gates, founded later, partially concealed by the earth mound.
Bklemishevskaya tower ends the line of towers, directed to Red square. Built by Marko in 1487 this massive tower has a grace hipped roof, overbuilt in 17 century. It mitigated a little the harsh fortress character of the tower, which held sway over the area, from which in old times the Kremlin was subjected by the most often attacks.
The Basil Blazhenny’s Cathedral was erected in the southern side of the square in 1555-1561 by Russian architectures Barma and Postnik. By composition it connected the Kremlin with China-town. The cathedral was built in memory of national self-consciousness raise and consolidation of centralized Russian State.
At the left of Basil Blazhenny’s cathedral there is the Lobnoe place (a place of execution) – the high area of white stone behind cast-iron fence. It appeared here in the first half of XVI century and served as a scaffold, from which tsar’s decrees announced and sentences on offenders were proclaimed.
The Lobnoe place is situated on the steep height – “vzlobje”. In Orthodox Moscow it symbolized Jerusalem hill Holgofa (Calvary), on which Jesus was crucified. Holgofa is translated from Hebrew into Russian as “golova”, “lob” (into English “head’, “forehead”: by church legend on Holgofa Adam was buried and the blood, trickling down from crucified Christ, washed his skull, crumbling the original sin of a man.
The ensemble of the square includes the monument to Minin and Pozharsky – the first sculptural monument of Moscow, which was opened in 1818. In the soviet years it was shifted to Pokrovsky cathedral and the Lobnoe place – the tribune of ancient Moscow. It was erected apparently in 16 century, but reconstructed of white stone at the end of 18 century.
Pokrovsky cathedral is the unique Moscow temple. It served not only for praying – it itself was an icon, embodied in stone. This temple is nothing but an architectural image of biblical Jerusalem – the kingdom of God, described in John the Divine’s revelations (Apocalypse).
The plan of the cathedral is based on profound religion symbolism. Eight cupolas, situated round the ninth central hipped roof, form by plan an eight-point star. Number 8 symbolizes the day of Christ’s resurrection, which by Hebrew calendar was the eight day, and the coming kingdom of heavens – is a kingdom of “the eight century” which will come after the second Christ’s advent. And the star itself symbolizes the whole Orthodox church. It is like a lodestar in a person’s life to Heavenly Jerusalem. Eight-point star is also the symbol of the Blessed Virgin – Holy Mother: in Orthodox iconography she is portrayed in veil with three eight-point stars on her shoulders and forehead as a token of her eternal virginity – before, during and after Christ’s Birth. Eight-point star is formed of two joint squares. Square symbolizes solidity of belief, four parts of the world, four Gospels and four equilateral walls of the Heavenly Kingdom. Joint squares symbolize sermon of Gospels to four parts of the world, i.e. to the whole world. The inner roundabout gallery of the cathedral is decorated in imitation of Paradise. Despite the magnificence of its exterior inside Pokrovsky cathedral is quite small. During a service there not so many people could go in. When the during the great church holidays divine services were carried out in Red square, it completely filled up with people; clergy occupied the Lobnoe place, where lectern was placed and Pokrovsky cathedral became an altar of the huge temple in open air. The fortune has kept Pokrovsky temple - many times it was on the edge of destruction. After the revolution Pokrovsky cathedral had hardly a victim of plunder and destruction of temples. In September of 1918 authority shoot the dean of the cathedral archpriest John Vostorgov, property of the temple was confiscated, all bells of its belfry was melt and the temple itself was closed. Its architectural-artistic complication the square got after construction Mausoleum of Vladimir Iljich Lenin at the Kremlin wall. In Soviet time thousands people from every corner of Russia came to the Mausoleum in order to see “grandfather Lenin”. People stood in very long lines for several hours, either when it is heat or freeze. All considered that if you hadn’t got there, you had lost much. One can say, had lived for nothing. Time flies and Lenin’s cult has already passed. Now it is one of sights of Red square. Nowadays the Mausoleum is closed for visiting.
Since 1990s in Red square festivals and concerts have been arranged, temporary trading constructions have been erected.
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