Red Square - Lenin Mausoleum, Moscow
We are history buffs, and have an interest in Russian and Soviet History.
Vladimir Lenin is arguably one of the most recognised faces in world history and his policies had a far reaching impact not just on Russia and the Soviet Union, but on other nations and societies as well.
We visited Lenin's mausoleum at Red Square in Moscow. Lenin died on 21 January 1924. And his preserved body is on display in the Mausoleum. The Mausoleum is built with a black marble façade and is situated at Red Square.
There is interesting information contained on Wikipedia link above about the Mausoleum and also about difficulties in preserving the body.
When Stalin died in 1953, his body was placed beside Lenin’s, but in 1961, under Kruschev’s rule, Stalin’s body was removed, and he is now buried in the Kremlin Necropolis, outside the Kremlin walls.
Lenin’s body was transferred to Siberia briefly during World War Two when it looked like Moscow would be invaded by Nazi Germany. But it was later reinstated in the Mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square. According to the website, current leader Vladimir Putin has opposed any suggestions to remove Lenin’s body from the mausoleum.
The admission to see Lenin's embalmed and preserved body is free, but it is forbidden to take photographs. Bags, cameras, mobile phones and other recording equipment must be deposited at a cloakroom for a fee.
The queue to enter on the weekend when we were at Red Square was very long, so we decided to go on Tuesday (as the Mausoleum is closed on Mondays). On Tuesday, the queue was not so long, and it moved swiftly.
Inside the dark mausoleum at Red Square, there are guards at every turn. People are not allowed to linger for long, as the line of people moves around the body quite quickly. The body is in a glass enclosure and there is a light illuminating Lenin's face. One hand is clenched into a fist. The other hand is facing palm down on his body. He looks very small in stature. But he sure had an enormous impact on the world.
Once leaving the mausoleum, you can see that there are some statues or busts of other Russian leaders, including Stalin. And some graves. At this point, it is impossible to photograph them because we had not had a chance to collect our cameras yet. Some people had laid flowers next to various statues or graves. There were several flowers laid for Stalin.
Admission is free. But it is closed on Mondays.
I hadn't had any intention of visiting Lenin's Mausoleum but when I noticed that the queue at the Manege Square entrance was pretty much non-existent curiosity got the better of me.
Well, it was definitely an experience, albeit a somewhat ghoulish one.
As I far as I can work out the queue forms at the Manege Square entrance to Red Square during the mausoleum's opening times, 10.00 until 13.00 daily except Mondays, Thursday and national holidays. Only a certain number of people are allowed in at a time and these are counted in and out by the custodians who are in contact by radio. During the opening times this access to Red Square is cordoned off.
Once ushered through the cordon there is a security check at the entrance to the necropolis on the pathway towards the mausoleum. This involves going through a metal detector and some people are taken aside for a hand-search. Luggage, heavy coats and larger cameras have to be checked-in to a cloakroom, for which I think there is a charge, but I was allowed through with my over-the-shoulder "bridge" camera.
The necropolis on the pathway was interesting, with its wall plaques and memorial statues to many of Russia and the USSR's most revered citizens including the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the former chief of the Cheka Felix Dzerzhinsky, several First Secretaries, and, surprisingly Josef Stalin, who was reinterred there in 1961 following the removal of his embalmed body from the mausoleum he shared with Lenin.
On entering the building, which is pitch dark apart from the light in Lenin's glass-walled sarcophagus, visitors are expected to treat the space with total respect. Rules include: no smoking; no photography; no use of mobile phones; no hands in pockets and for men, no headwear. Armed police, or soldiers, line the route past the sarcophagus, roughly arm-length apart and stare straight ahead - their presence suitably intimidating to keep the visitors moving and prevent any infringement of the rules.
The body of Lenin looks like a waxwork, dressed in a frock-coat, but by all accounts such is the skill that the Soviets developed in embalming and then preserving the embalmed body the technicians responsible have been much sought after for commissions around the world.
Personally I thought it all a tad bizarre but I suppose for the older generation of Communists there is still a reveration for Lenin's contribution to the cause. For a tourist it's kinda macabre.
In Red Square in Moscow (Arch. A.V.Shchusev) is the tomb of V.I.Lenin, and is one of the masterpieces of the Soviet architechture. The first (temporary, wooden) building was opened Jan. 27 1924, near the Senate Tower of the Kremlin in Red Square. Two months later the temporary wooden Mausoleum was closed, and the construction of the new wooden Mausoleum began and lasted March through August 1924.
Five years later, the construction of the stone Mausoleum began (July 1929 - October 1930). In plan, the stone Mausoleum is practically the same as the wooden building. Visitors enter the main entrance and descend the left 3m wide staircase (the walls are faced with labradorite) into the memorial hall. The hall is cubic in form (face length is 10m) with a step-like ceiling. A wide black labradorite band with red porphyritic pilasters on it runs round the periphery of the hall. To the right of the pilasters run the bands of black polished labradorite, with zigzag bright red smalta strips between them. Visitors move along the low podium around the sarcophagus from the three sides, exit the memorial hall, ascend the right staircase and exit the Mausoleum through the door in the right wall.
The frame of the building is reinforced concrete; the walls are filled with brick and faced with polished marble, labradorite, porphyry, and granite. The length of the Mausoleum facade is 24m, the height 12m. The top portico is shifted to the Kremlin wall (in the wooden Mausoleum, it was shifted to the facade). The Mausoleum pyramid consists of five projections of different height (in the wooden building they were six). In 1945 a tribune for top officials was arranged on the first projection.
Lenin (or at the least the alleged wax copy of his body) lies still in his crystal casket, seemingly unaffected by the vast changes that have swept over Russia.
Admission (free) is on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, from 10.00 a.m. till 1.00 p.m.
Lenin is considered to be the father of the revolution. When he died in 1924 a wooden mausoleum was erected. In 1929 to accomplished everlasting home for his body a permanent mausoleum designed by architect Aleksei Shchusev was built.
On the day the Lenin mausoleum was not open to the general public. This also happened to us when we tried to see Ho Chi Minh body in Hanoi. Maybe we wasn't meant to see famous dead body.
Lenin Mausoleum is located in Red Square in the centre of Moscow.
Sadly again it was a late visit - the opening times for the tomb are between 10.00 and 13.00 - the tomb is closed on Monday and Friday. Visitors still wait in line to see Lenin, however the queues are not as long as they once were. Entrance is free.
All items capable of recording devices as well as taking photographs are strictly forbidden. All electronic items must be checked in a nearby building containing lockers.
Before visitors are allowed to enter the mausoleum, armed police or military guards search each visitor. Visitors are required to show a degree of respect while in the tomb; there is no photography or videotaping permitted inside the mausoleum, no talking, no smoking, no keeping hands in pockets nor wearing hats. The mausoleum is heavily guarded, although the Changing of the Guard has been moved to the Eternal Flame by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Since 1991, there has been significant amounts of discussion about removing the Kremlin Wall Necropolis and burying Lenin's body. President Boris Yeltsin, with the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, intended to close the tomb and bury Lenin next to his mother, Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova, at the Volkov Cemetery, Saint Petersburg. However perhaps not unsurprisingly, his successor, Vladimir Putin, opposed this by highlighting that the reburial of Lenin would imply that generations of citizens had observed false values during 70 years of Soviet rule.
This impressive granite tomb houses the preserved body of the socialist giant (actually he's fairly tiny), orginally for the purpose of inspiring precocious communists. Talk continues of choosing a final resting place for poor old Vladimir so take a peek whilst you still can.
Lenin's Tomb is located at the Red Square. His embalmed body has been on public display here since the year he died in 1924. For a few years he had company by Joseph Stalin's embalmed corpse, but Stalin was in 1961 moved to the 'Kremlin Wall Necropolis'.
Bags, cameras etc. were not allowed inside the tomb, but there was a luggage-office in the State History Museum. The security was very high and there were soldiers all over the place. Do as they tell you! Keep your hands out of your pockets and your arms straight down at your sides! It only took a minute to walk by his tomb, and in my opinion it was a strange experience to see the mummified Lenin in his mausoleum.
Before we visited the mausoleum, we had a closer look at the ‘Kremlin Wall Necropolis’, where many prominent people are buried. Among many were the tombstones of Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, and Yuri Gagarin (the cosmonaut). Today many people still leave flowers on the graves.
IMPORTANT: The sign at the entrance says that the tomb is open until 2 pm - but it's the closing time of the tomb. This means that every visitor must be out of the tomb at that time - and therefore they closes the gate about 30 minutes before! Be at the tomb at least one hour before it closes!
Lenin's Mausoleum is a a pyramid composed of red granite cubes.
It was designed by Alexei Shchusev in 1924.
The embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin - rumours say it is a wax copy - is placed on a sarcophagus in the Memorial Hall.
The Mausoleum can be visited on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 10 am and 1 pm.
The entrance is free and visitors are expected to line up at the northwest corner of Red Square, which is closed during visiting hours of the Mausoleum.
Bags, cameras and mobile phones aren't allowed in the Mausoleum and can be stored in a cloak room.
On exiting the Mausoleum visitors pass the cemetery at the Kremlin Wall, where among others Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov and Gargarin are buried.
Lenin's Mausoleum is located on Red Square, just in front of the Kremlin Wall.
Cumpulsory visit for all tourists back then (1968).
The locals stood in huge queues to file through and see Lenin's mummified body. All part of the cult of personality. Tourists were whisked in at the front of the queue.
Aged 15 I was full of curiosity, my exposure to dead bodies being a bit limited at that time. A little gruesome and morbid for my taste.
Stalin had been evicted from his resting place in the mausoleum by that stage. He had been decanted to a hole in the Kremlin wall. The graves of many former communist leaders were in the wall at that time - I wonder if they still are?
Changing of the guard was also interesting. How do they balance their rifles like that while goosestepping? Must take lots of practice.
You must visit Lenins Tomb on Red Square. I paid a visit in 1992 but I didn't make it this time in 2008
The tomb is open every day except Mondays and Fridays from 10:00 to 13:00. There is normally a long line to see Lenin. No photos or video are allowed.
No visit to Moscow is complete without a visit to Lenin's Tomb, where visitors can file past the long-deceased founder of the Soviet Union and contemplate his embalmed body for a few moments. The procedure for getting into the tomb is slightly complicated, as you must first drop off your bags and any photographic equipment at a coat check in the National Historical Museum and then pass through metal detectors on your way onto the path into the Mausoleum. You are not allowed to talk when inside the actual building, and the soldiers, despite being young and baby-faced, make no bones about telling you to shut-up. Lenin's Tomb is much more, however, than just filing past his body. It is also a chance to walk through a small garden than houses the busts and plaques dedicated to the soldiers, generals and politicians who were featured prominently throughout Soviet history. It is also a chance to understand just how much the entire Soviet military apparatus is still revered in Russia, almost twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since the year he died in 1924 (with rare exceptions in wartime). Aleksey Shchusev's diminutive but monumental granite structure incorporates some elements from ancient mausoleums, such as the Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.
On the flank monuments to other Soviet leaders are displayed, including a monument to Stalin.
A visit to Moscow is not complete unless you pay a visit to Vladimir Lenin in his tomb, located in the middle of Red Square. While some argue that the body on display in the tomb is made from wax and not the real thing, the tomb truely is theatre at its finest.
Walk down the long dark corridors under the watchful guise of stoic Russian military. Enter the large room, masked in absolute silence, and see one of the most influential men of the 20th Century.
The survivor of the Soviet times is the mausoleum of Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state. It used to be the podium for Soviet leaders during parades and demonstrations, and inside still lies the well-preserved mummy of Lenin. Lenin's successor, Stalin, laid there as well for several years until he was carried out in dishonor. The podium is no longer used, and the honor guards are no longer there.
The granite-faced structure was built by Shchusev, appropriately in the style reminiscent of the temple of Hatshepsut in Ancient Egypt. The Soviet embalmers were so good, their services were retained to mummify several other sympathetic leaders from Bulgaria's Dimitrov to the the late president of Guyana.
Lenin, who died in 1924, is still lying in state in a mausoleum off red square. Flash photography is not allowed (because flashlight apparently interferes with the chemicals preserving his body).
Some cynics who'd filed past his body reckon it's a waxworks dummy, which is a little disrespectful.