There are several versions of the origin of the word “Moskva”. According to one of them this word derived from the names of Mosokha (Mocoxa), who was a forefather of the Slavonic-Russian people, and his wife Kva (Ква) – hence the name “Moskva”. According to V. Tatishchev, the word “Moskva” means a twested river. A historian, I. Zabelin, wrote that the word “Moskva” derived from the word “bridge” (мост, мостики), as there were a lot of bridges across the Moskva River. And the last version is considered to be the most evident. Chronicles first mentioned Moscow in 1147 when Suzdalian prince Yuri Dolgoruky invited his ally and relative Svyatoslav Olgovich, a Novgorod-Seversky prince, to Moscow which which was then a small settlement. The years 1147 is considered to be the official date of Moscow’s birth. The history of Moscow is inseparable from the history of its main square, Red Square. The square has been called differently in different times. At the beginning of the 15th century is had not been formed yet and was called a great market-place. From morning till night it was crowded with busy and idle people. For a long time the square was known as Pozhar (Пожар), as there were a lot of wooden constructions in it and they caught fire very often. It was only in the second half of the 17th century that the name “red” was given to the square. There are a lot of constructions and buildings in Red Square. Here is their short description. St. Basil’s Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Intercession, is a unique monument of Russian architecture. It was built in 1555 – 1561 by the order of Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the seizure of Kazan. This cathedral was designed by Russian architects Postnik and Barma.
Not far from St. Basil’s Cathedral is the Saviour’s Tower. It is the main gateway to the Kremlin. The tower was built in 1491 under the supervision of P. Solari Its first name was Frolov Tower. In 1658 an icon of the Savoir was placed over the gate from the side of Red Square and the tower was renamed – it became the
In front of St. Basil’s Cathedral is a monument to Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky. In 1612 the Russian warriors rallied by Minin and Pozharsky marched across the square and entered the Kremlin to liberate Moscow and Russia from the Polish invaders. To commemorate that event a monument was erected.
Not far from the monument to Minin and Pozharsky is a stone elevation, the so-called Lobnoye Mesto. It was built more than four hundred years ago. In older time public announcements and the tsar’s orders were proclaimed from that circular platform. In the 1780s the platform was faced with white stone after the design of the famous architect M.Kazakov.
The red-brick building on the opposite side of Red Square is the State History Museum built in 1875 – 1881 by architect V. Sherwood and engineers A. Semvonov and A. Popov.
In front of the Kremlin is the Lenin Mausoleum. The building was designed by architect A. Shchusev in 1930.Red Square has witnessed many events of great importance. A historic parade was held here on November 7, 1941. A Victory Parade was held here on June 24, 1945.
A welcome for Yuri Gagarin, who was back from the first manned flight into outer space, took place here on April 14, 1961. Nowadays Red Square is one of the favourite places of Muscovites.
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