How many Red Squares are there actually in Russia




Every Russian schoolchild knows that the name of the country’s main square ‘Red’ means ‘beautiful’. However, there are many other Red Squares in Russia, which were named so for a very different reason.

1. Moscow

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Moscow’s main square is the best known of all red squares. You can see the walls and towers of the kremlin, including the famous chimes, visit the Lenin Mausoleum (and this is not the only person to have been buried on the Red Square), the Russia’s oldest shopping center, GUM, St. Basil’s Cathedral and so on. In winter, there is a New Year fair and an ice rink, while, in summer, a range of festivals are held there.

2. Yaroslavl

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Unlike in Moscow, the Red Square in Yaroslavl got its name during the Soviet era. It was initially called Semenovskaya (the church of St. Simeon Stolpnik had previously been there), but in 1924, the Bolsheviks decided to rename it in the spirit of the new epoch. Subsequently, in the middle of the 1930s, a house with an arch was built on the site of the demolished church for the party functionaries. It was notorious. It is believed that everyone who lived there was then at some point repressed.

The square itself is small and located at the intersection of several busy roads. But from it, you can walk along a beautiful boulevard to the embankment of the Volga River.

3. Cheboksary

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In the capital of Chuvashia (Povolzhye), the Red Square is the center of the city, from where you can enjoy a stunning view of the Cheboksary Bay. A century ago, there was a marketplace there and the square was just a drive-through. But, nowadays, it is meant exclusively for pedestrians. There is a small park for children there, swings under a canopy, benches, as well as a light and music fountain.

4. Pereslavl-Zalessky

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The ancient town of Pereslavl-Zalessky is located in Yaroslavl Region and is remarkable for a large amount of preserved medieval Russian architectural sights. The Red Square is the place where, in the Middle Ages, people’s meetings — Veche — took place. It was called Vechevaya or Sobornaya in the vernacular, but its official name, Krasnaya, was first mentioned only in a 1928 guidebook. Although the area was repeatedly rebuilt, the most ancient white-stone Transfiguration Cathedral of the 12th century, where many princes had been baptized, was preserved there.

5. Tobolsk

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The only stone kremlin in Siberia has been preserved only in the town of Tobolsk (Tyumen Region). And it is located exactly on the Red Square (Sobornaya Square before the revolution) in the historic center on a hill. Besides the kremlin, the Prison Castle is also located there. And, from there, you can enjoy impressive views of the Irtysh River.

7. Vyborg

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Vyborg in Leningrad Region is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Founded at the end of the 13th century, it happened at some point to be part of Sweden and Finland. The historic name of the Red Square in this city — the Red Well Square — goes back exactly to the Swedish period, when, back in the 16th century, supporters of the Swedish King Sigismund III were executed near the well on the square. To commemorate the historic event, the well was painted red. It was filled up in the late 19th century, when the square was being reconstructed, and, after the Great Patriotic War, it had its name changed. The place started to be referred to as just the Red Square.

7. Izhevsk

Vyacheslav Bukharov (CC BY-SA)

Initially, one of the most beautiful places in the capital of Udmurtia (Central Russia) also had a different name. This place in Izhevsk used to be called Mikhailovskaya Square, because the Mikhailovsky Cathedral stood right next to it. It was one of the first to be renamed the Red Square, back in 1918. Already in 1922, a monument to the Red Army soldiers who died during the Civil War was unveiled there. Today, in addition to this monument on Izhevsk’s Red Square you can see the majestic Mikhailovsky Cathedral, which was destroyed during the Soviet era and restored in the early 2000s.

8. Kursk

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According to official historic accounts, this square in Kursk (southeast Russia) was rebuilt after a fire in the late 18th century. The central square was built in the place of the houses destroyed by the fire and the remains of the defensive fortress. Empress Catherine II approved the name ‘Red’ for the place, with the same meaning as in Moscow — ‘beautiful’.

At that time, the parade ground and administration of the city were located there. Subsequently, the square expanded with new buildings emerging there and, eventually, changed its name to Znamenskaya, but the Bolsheviks returned its historic name to it.

9. Yelets

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Yelets is a small town in Lipetsk Region (central Russia), but, at the same time, it is one of the oldest in Russia, founded no later than the middle of the 12th century. The Red Square was part of the Yelets fortress. Its name reminded locals of the blood shed there by the defenders of the city, who stood guard over it more than once. Today, it is a small space in the center, where you can see a stele commemorating the 850th anniversary of the city, as well as the remains of the foundation of the old Resurrection Church.

10. Taganrog

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Built up with rows of stores, the Red Square in the southern city of Taganrog is located between the Central Market, the stadium and the monument to Anton Chekhov. However, the market place has been there since the mid-19th century, when this square was called Alexander Square, in the honor of Emperor Alexander I, who died in Taganrog in 1825. The Bolsheviks renamed it the Red one in 1923.

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