Red Square (Russian: Кра́сная пло́щадь, tr. Krásnaya plóshchaď, IPA: [ˈkrasnəjə ˈploɕːətʲ]) is a city square(plaza) in Moscow, Russia. It separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and now the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow since Moscow’s major streets, which connect to Russia’s major highways, originate from the square.
The name Red Square originates neither from the pigment of the surrounding bricks (which, in fact, were whitewashed at certain periods) nor from the link between the colour red and communism. Rather, the name came about because the Russian word красная (krasnaya), which means both „red“ and „beautiful,“ was applied to a small area between St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Spassky Tower of the Kremlin, and the herald’s platform called Lobnoe Mesto (contrary to the common misconception, it actually never was a place of execution), and Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich officially extended the name to the entire square, which had previously been called Pozhar, or „burnt-out place“, in reference to the fact that several buildings had to be burned down to make place for the square. Several ancient Russian towns, such as Suzdal, Kiev, Yelets, and Pereslavl-Zalessky, have their main square named Krasnaya ploshchad.
The rich history of Red Square is reflected in many paintings by Vasily Surikov, Konstantin Yuon and others. The square was meant to serve as Moscow’s main marketplace. It was also the site of various public ceremonies and proclamations, and occasionally a coronation for Russia’s Tsars would take place. The square has been gradually built up since that point and has been used for official ceremonies by all Russian governments since it was established.