Russia // Moscow //

The Lenin Mausoleum and Kremlin wall

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In post-Communist Russia, the Lenin Mausoleum, which houses Vladimir Ilyich Ulianov’s embalmed corpse (daily except Mon & Fri 10am–1pm; free; queue at the Alexander Gardens entrance to Red Square), can be seen as either an awkward reminder of the old days or a cherished relic. Descend past stony-faced guards into the dimly lit chasm where the leader’s body lies. Stopping or giggling will earn you stern rebukes. Behind the Mausoleum, the Kremlin wall – 19m high and 6.5m thick – contains a mass grave of Bolsheviks who perished during the battle for Moscow in 1917. The ashes of an array of luminaries, including writer Maxim Gorky and the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, are here too. Beyond lie the graves of a select group of Soviet leaders, each with his own bust; Stalin still gets the most flowers.