Being an 80s baby that grew up in the west, my perception of Red Square was always a rather gloomy one: a dark, cloudy sky over dingy brick buildings with maybe a military parade filling the cobblestone square. Even the most memorable photo of the place from my youth, one that included my favorite childhood band Metallica, felt dreary — with the bandmates looking rather tired and miserable, standing by St. Basil’s Cathedral in their usual leather on what looked like a cold, gray day.

However, when seeing Red Square in person for my first time, it was far from what I had imagined and much more beautiful than expected. Under a bright blue sky, Britnee and I approached the square from the south after spotting the colorful spires of St. Basil’s from a distance. The newly renovated red brick of the cathedral, and that of the Kremlin and State Historical Museum, contrasted greatly with the brilliant blue overhead — forcing us to stop repeatedly to snap many photos.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.Joining the crowds of other tourists, we ended up exploring the wonderful architecture that surrounded the square for six whole hours, when we were supposed to take just a short walk on our first afternoon in the city. Then, in the coming days, we returned again and again to admire the same view and explore inside St. Basil’s, the Kremlin, the Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin and Lenin’s Mausoleum.

Eventually, we managed to tear ourselves away and visit other sights in the city, inluding the State Tretyakov Gallery and Gorky Park. Yet, now looking back, most of my photos from Moscow were in and around Red Square and for good reason. It truly felt like a Disneyland built by tsars and was one of the most beautiful city centers I’ve even seen.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

When visiting Moscow, we loved Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin so much that we visited them repeatedly.

Next photo gallery: Saint Petersburg, Russia.

About The Author

Traveler
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Mark quit everything to travel the world for a year with his wife, Britnee. Along the way, he picked up a love for many other things, including illy coffee, Nepal, Bolivianos bills, and Thai beaches. Now happily home in Utah, Mark is a balding marketing professional with a mountain biking addiction.

9 Responses

  1. Heidi

    So beautiful! Putin should hire you to do PR for Russia. I’m excited for more pictures from Finland. And please, please, please put a rush order on fjord pics. All the pictures I’ve seen of Norway’s fjords are absolutely breathtaking.

    Reply
    • Mark Johnston

      Haha, thanks Heidi. They really need it at the moment. There were some less happy/less beautiful moments in Russia, but more on that later. And right now I’m sitting in my quaint little hostel sipping coffee in Hamnoy, Norway, (google it for your photo fix)! Biking, hiking and plenty more photos tomorrow!

      Reply
  2. Charlie

    Amazing.. Can’t believe there is so much beautiful architecture all crammed in there.

    Reply
    • Mark Johnston

      Thanks Charlie. It really is amazing, and the beautiful architecture continues to spread through the surrounding streets for miles.

      Reply
  3. NZ Muse

    SPECTACULAR. It’s my dream to visit Russia, specifically St Petersburg at some point!

    Reply

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