Red Square lies just outside the Kremlin walls. This large plaza, about 1/4 mile (0.4 kilometre) long, took its name in Russian from an old word meaning both beautiful and red.
Huge military and civilian parades were held in Red Square in order to celebrate various special occasions.
Opposite the Kremlin on Red Square is GUM, the country's largest department store. It was completed in the early 1890's and remodelled in 1953. The initials GUM come from three Russian words that mean State Department Store.
St. Basil's Cathedral — a Russian church famous for its many colourful, onion-shaped domes — is also on Red Square. Originally built over 400 years ago to honour several military conquests, this building is now part of the State Historical Museum.
The Russia Hotel, one of the world's largest hotels, is near Red Square.
The Russian Parliament building, where Russians Supreme Soviet meets, lies west of the Kremlin.