Red Square (Russian: Красная площадь, Krásnaya plóshchad’) is a central square in Moscow. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. [clear]
As major streets of Moscow radiate from here in all directions, being promoted to major highways outside the city, Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow and all of Russia.
Image credit: Flikr.
The name Red Square derives neither from the colour of the bricks around it (which, in fact, were whitewashed at certain points in history) nor from the link between the colour red and communism. Rather, the name came about because the Russian word красная (krasnaya) can mean either “red” or “beautiful” (the latter being rather archaic). This word, with the meaning “beautiful”, was originally applied to Saint Basil’s Cathedral and was subsequently transferred to the nearby square. It is believed that the square acquired its current name (replacing the older Pozhar, or “burnt-out place”) in the 17th century. Several ancient Russian towns, such as Suzdal, Yelets, and Pereslavl-Zalessky, have their main square named Krasnaya ploshchad.