On June 12th, 1990, the day that Russia declared its independence from the USSR, the 17th- and 19th-century bells of Saint Basils Cathedral, silent for so long, started ringing.
Witness to and theatre of the country's greatest political events, this place, as immense as the land of the boyars, is home to the most important buildings in the city. To the west is the Kremlin and to the east, behind its walls, the Kitai-Gorod. To the south, towards the Moskva River, are the nine multi-coloured onion domes of the cathedral, a stunning architectural pastry built during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. On the square, populated only by tourists, Lenin lies in a mausoleum of red granite. To the north you will find the historic GUM shopping centre.
Avoid crossing the square during a winter blizzard, when the cold gives you the illusion of walking, like the little mermaid in the Andersen tale, on daggers.