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In the middle of Red Square's length, at the foot of the Kremlin Walls, we find Lenin's Mausoleum – we can see the Senate Tower of the Kremlin Walls directly behind it. Set in the Kremlin Walls behind the mausoleum are tablets marking the burial sites of revolutionary heroes.
Lenin was born in 1870 in the provincial town of Simbirsk, under the name Vladimir Ulyanov. His parents were civil servants. His youth held no hint of the Revolutionary he later became – his diligent, even pedantic character, alongside his hard work and interest in science enabled him to finish his Grammar School with Honours, and begin a legal career. It's ironic that Lenin – on whose orders tens of thousands of churches were later demolished – himself thrived on the discipline of a Church School. Lenin's elder brother was arrested as a political activist, and hanged - an event said to have persuaded Lenin away from his intended career as a lawyer, and into the path of a full-time revolutionary. As a wanted man, he adopted the fake surname “Lenin” (which came by most versions from the name of Siberian Lena river) to help him evade arrest – but he was forced to flee abroad, and lived mainly in Britain and Germany as an emigré.
Lenin returned to Russia during the 1917 Revolution, and was acclaimed leader. He became the first Leader of the newly-formed USSR. He moved the capital of the country from St.Petersburgh to Moscow in 1918. A catastrophic Civil War began which left the country with a shattered economy and over 5 million fatalities. Lenin died of heart failure brought on by two attempts on his life. His illness was kept from the public, and he died in a sanatorium in the countryside in 1924. His attempts to warn the government not to appoint Stalin as his successor were thwarted. Stalin built a personality cult around Lenin, and insisted that Lenin be entombed in a mausoleum.
The mausoleum we see today is the third rebuilding. It has a reinforced concrete frame and brick walls. The exterior facing is executed in marble, granite, and raspberry quartzite. The single word LENIN is written in quartzite on the portal. The mausoleum is 24 metres wide and 12 metres high. The roof of the mausoleum formerly functioned as a seating area for top party leaders to review the troops during parades – this function has now ceased. From 1953 until 1961 Joseph Stalin's body shared the mausoleum. However, he was subsequently exhumed and buried in the Kremlin Wall instead.
Vladimir Lenin died on 21th January 1924. By the day of his funeral a temporary wooden structure was built for his lying-in-state – here, where he had so often given public orations. But the crowds wishing to file past his coffin didn't cease for two months, so it was decided to embalm his body instead. The chemist Boris Zbarsky consulted with anatomist Vladimir Vorobyov on the embalming formula. The resulting embalming fluid has subsequently been used on Stalin, Georgi Dimitrov, Khorloogiin Choibalsan (leader of Communist Mongolia), Klement Gottwald, Ho Chi Minh, Agostinho Neto (the 1st president of Angola), Kim Il Sung and Linden Forbes Burnham of Guyana.
The mausoleum was attacked twice - in 1960, and 1961. On the first occasion the attacker broke the glass at the foot of the sarcophagus and managed to damage the body's skin. On the latter occasion a women first spat on the sarcophagus and then threw a handkerchief-concealed brick at the case. The glass broke, but the body was undamaged. Later the sarcophagus was rebuilt in temperered security glass. It would be interesting to know what happened to the assailants subsequently?
Visitors to the mausoleum enter a cube-shaped Memorial Hall with a stepped ceiling. Visitor walkways surround a central podium on which the former leader's glass catafalque is displayed. Every eighteen months the body is taken for maintenance work to keep it in good condition. They also test the equipment designed to maintain a constant climate within the Memorial Hall.
There's periodic talk in Russia about the idea of reburying Lenin elsewhere – and there would be three reasons. Firstly, Lenin's own will requests that he be buried next to his mother in a cemetery. Secondly, the procession of gawking tourists past the body is thought to be anti-religious. And finally, some say a kind of negative energy seeps from the mausoleum.
Moscow is the capital of the ancient and modern Russian state. It has been playing crucial role for centuries. Here you can face all episodes of rich and gorgeous Russian history.
The city is full of historical buildings, monuments, cathedrals, museums and parks. It started many centuries ago from the Kremlin – medieval city-fortress overlooking the Moskva River. Now it is not only the government seat but open air museum. Behind the tall red brick walls palaces, cathedrals and museums are hidden. You can get there through one of the gates and walk along the streets that saw Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Peter the Great and all other Romanovs, and the Soviet leaders.
You can visit all the cathedrals on Sobornaya (Cathedral) Square, climb Ivan the Great Bell Tower, take photos of the Tzar Bell and Tzar Cannon, see state regalia, ceremonial vestments and gold and silver relics in the world-known treasury-house – the Armoury Chamber. To say more, the Kremlin and its vicinities are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
We would like to advise you not to concentrate on the Kremlin only. Now you can get out of the Kremlin through the Spasskiye Gate and find yourself on Red Square – the main square of the country where Victory Day parades take place. In winter there is a skating rink with some kind of souvenir bazar. Red Square is famous for being the part of so called Kitai-Gorod – the second ring of fortified walls. Here you will see the beautiful fairy-tale St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is open for tourists and it’s worth visiting. Other places that pay tourists’ attention are GUM (the main center for shopaholics), Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State History Museum and the small Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of Our Lady. If you go along Nikolskaya Street, you will get to Lubyanka Square with the imposing buildings of former KGB and the biggest in Russia Children's World Department Store.
If you decide to go through the Resurrection Gate you will find yourself on Manezhnaya (Manege) Square at the entrance to the Alexander Garden. It’s a large pedestrian open space and a nice place to walk and relax near the fountains. Underground Trade Centre ”Okhotny Ryad” or “the Hunter’s Row” is a paradise for shopping. You can continue your walk towards Arbat or Tverskaya Street. There are also fine buildings to visit and to take pictures of: The Shilov Art Gallery, hotels “Moskva”, “Nationale”, Pashkov's House, The Former House of the Moscow State Duma etc.
If you decide to turn round Georgy Zhukov’s horse monument you’ll occur on Revolution Square where you can visit the Museum of Patriotic War of 1812. From there it’s very easy to get to Teatralnaya or “Theatre” Square limited by the Metropol Hotel, The Bolshoi and the Maly Theatres. In the center you will find a beautiful fountain by Vitali.
All these sites and even more you will be able to visit and explore with knowledgeable audio excursion with offline map from Your Audio Guide “Attractions around the Kremlin”. You will find Moscow very pleasant for spending holidays.