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Lubyanka Square today is a huge space covered in tarmac with a flowerbed in the middle. It's all been a vast turnaround. Until the 1930s it was charming spot bordered by the Kitai-Gorod Walls, with a city standpipe fountain at its centre. Now it's a vast empty space dominated by the FSB Building – successors of the KGB. The facade of the Polytechnical Museum can be seen from the square.
The earliest mention of Lubyanka Square, or just Lubyanka is in chronicles of 1480 – Tsar Ivan III gave permission to people from Novgorod to settle here. And thus it got its name – the new settlers named it after the old Lubyanitsa Street in Novgorod. Long ago there was a huge fruit and vegetable market here, called Lubyansky Torg. And there was a standpipe fountain in the centre of the square, where local citizens drew water and coachmen watered their horses. In the soviet era the fountain was replaced by a statue of NKVD Secret Police founder Felix Derzhinsky. Early in soviet rule the former Insurance Office here was made headquarters for the NKVD – later renamed the KGB, and the area remains deeply associated with the security police of Russia. The grim memories of atrocities committed here haven't faded.
In the soviet era Lubyanka Square was renamed in the dubious honour of Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the USSR's secret police. He founded an organisation named the Russia-wide Organisation for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage. Dzerzhinsky was part of the “Red Terror” and organised acts of mass repression during the Russian Civil War. After the overthrow of Communism in 1991 his statue was torn down and carted off to the car-park of the House of Artists on Krymsky Val. They have now organised an exhibition of soviet-era sculpture there.
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.