Red Square is a large open square in the center of Moscow. It is located in front of the Kremlin's western wall. The square is fenced in the State Historical Museum building, the GUM building, and St. Basil Cathedral. For many centuries Red Square has served as the place for important historical events.
Red Square was founded at the end of the 15th century when Ivan III ordered to demolish wooden constructions around the Kremlin walls to prevent the tsar's residence from a fire. On the site of wooden constructions by the Kremlin's western wall a trade square started to form. Originally, it was called Torgovaya Square (Trade Square), then it got the name of Trinity Square, as the Trinity Church was located in the southern side of the square. The square obtained its modern name in the 17th century.
In an effort to fortify the Kremlin the 12-meters ditch was dug in 1508-1516. It connected Moscow River and Neglinnaya River. The ditch fenced in walls was filled up only after 1812. In the northern side of the square the Kitai-Gorod gates were located, and the western side featured trade rows. In 1555-1560 on the side of the Trinity Church the Pokrovsky Cathedral (St. Basil Cathedral) was put up by Russian architects Barma and Postnik.
In the 30s of the 16th century a dais was constructed on Red Square. It was called the Lobnoe Mesto (place of execution). It served as a rostrum for annunciation of important events such as government communique and solemn ceremonies. Sometimes it was used for executions. The Lobnoe Mesto got its modern shape in 1786 when it was rebuilt by architect M. Kazakov. The Lobnoe Mesto looks like a round stone eminence edged with a parapet and stairs.
By the end of the 17th century Red Square grew in importance for Moscow and the whole country. In 1697 the Mint was put up on the square, in 1699 the Zemsky Department was constructed, and later the Main Drugstore was erected. In 1755 Moscow University started to function in the building of the drugstore.
In 1786 the new trade rows designed by architect Quarenghi were put up in front of the Kremlin wall. The building was destroyed during the Patriotic War of 1812, and in 1814-1815 it was rebuilt. In 1818 in front of the building the monument to heroes of struggle against Polish intervention Kozma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pojarsky was put up. In 1930 the monument made after sculptor I. Martos's design was moved to the Pokrovsky Cathedral.
At the end of the 19th century the look of Red Square changed noticeably. In 1875-1881 on the site of Zemsky Department the Historical Museum was put up. It was designed by architect V. Sherwood. In 1889-1893 the building of the Upper trade rows that nowadays houses the GUM department store was put up to A. Pomerantsev's design. These buildings were constructed in pseudo-Russian style to match the walls and towers of the Kremlin.
The next stage of Red Square ensemble formation was closely connected to the Soviet period of Russian history. Red Square together with the Kremlin turned into the symbol of the new power, and its name was associated with Revolution. Since 1918 Red Square served as a place for parades and demonstrations. On Red Square the parade of the 7th of November, 1941 took place, the participants of which were leaving for the front. The parade dedicated to the victory in World War II also took place on Red Sqaure on the 24th of June, 1945.
In 1924 the wooden Mausoleum designed by architect A. Shchusev was put up on Red Square. It became the burial place of Vladimir Lenin. In 1929-1930 the Mausoleum was rebuilt in stone, and in 1930-1931 the rostrums above the Mausoleum were constructed after architect V. Frantsuz's design. Along the Kremlin walls the fir-trees were planted, and Red Square that used to be cobbled was covered with cubes.