A while back, I have published an article on the website in which I have presented the famous Red Square in Moscow. Today, I ‘return’ to Russia and to the Red Square in order to depict more accurately one of the attractions located here which has only been mentioned in passing in the previous article.
I am talking about Lennin’s Mausoleum, which has been erected in the Red Square shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin. Located in the center of Moscow, the mausoleum is a well-known tourist attraction, especially since visitors can actually gaze upon the communist revolutionery.
Shortly after his demise, which occured on the 21st of January 1924, a wooden burial chamber was constructed in order to lay to rest his earthly remains. But such a construction was not worthy of the Soviet ruler. Thus the architect Aleksei Shchuse was commissioned to erect a much appropriate and lasting mausoleum for Lenin.
The construction was completed in 1930 and it was exquisitely executed, inasmuch as it complements the Kremlin which stands behind it, the architect having used the same pallet of colors and materials, so that the two seem to be part of a unity. The pyramidal construction appears to be small which is quite a surprise taking into account the Russian masterpieces which impress not only through their architectural designs but also through their impressive stature.
But the eye is oftentime deceiving and that is the case in what concerns Lenin’s Mausoleum. Looking at it from the outside, the vault is relatively small, but exploring the mausoleum unveils that its width enlarges towards the underground. There are two levels underneath the building. One floor was designed as a resting space for public figures who visited the place and for Kremlin guards, while the other had administrative functions, more accurately it was used for supervisory purposes during the embalming procedure. Unfortunately for tourists, this areas is not open to the public, even if it has lost its initial scope and it is no longer used.
One is allowed to enter into the funerary chamber, but items such as bags or cameras have to be left in the coatrooms because photographing or filming is forbidden inside the premise. Even though tourists get the chance to literally look Lenin in the face, this occurance is swift in the sense that guards rush visitors so that they do not glance at Lenin more than a few minutes. The reason? Well, there has been a lot of controversy in the past regarding this matter. Some have actually implied that it wasn’t actually the body of Lenin deposited in the mausoleum. At least not any more. It was rumoured that the body was substituted long ago by a wax figure and this is why visitors are ushered out of the funeral room so quickly. Whether or not this is the case is debatable. Maybe you should venture yourself on Russian territory and see the body with your own eyes. Then you can judge for yourself.
Besides the fact that you cannot film inside the mausoleum, there is an etiquette you need not overlook. Respect has to be shown when inside the tomb which means no talking out load, no smoking, no keeping your hands in your pockets and no wearing hats (with the exception of women).
With the exception of Mondays and Fridays, as well as legal holidays, the mausoleum is open for visits daily from 10:00 until 13:00. Tourists still wait in line to get access inside Lenin’s tomb and it is really no wonder because who would not want to visit the resting place of such an important historical figure?