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A Great Red and Black Pyramid

The Lenin Mausoleum is located between the Kremlin’s red-bricked walls and the famous Red Square. It isn’t advertised as such and any signs you see will be in Russian but you are sure to notice the distinct red and black pyramid-like structure.

Even today the mausoleum is a building of great cultural and political significance,. As final resting place of of the revolutionary communist Vladimir Lenin, people from all over the world wait in line to pay their respects. Arguably the numbers have declined over the years and there is much talk in political circles about his body being reburied with his mother’s in St Petersburg.

The body has been on display since shortly after his death in 1924. The acclaimed Russian architect Aleksey Shchusev designed and built the grand granite mausoleum bringing together ideas of old including the Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.

Lenin-Maus

Lenin and the Great Glass Sarcophagus

On entering into the mausoleum you will descend a staircase.  It is quite dark and the steps are very dimly lit, with only small lights along the sides of the stairs to light the way. In some places there is no handrail, only the dark, smooth marble and the granite wall. As you enter the main room, Lenin lies in the very centre encased in a great glass sarcophagus.

As with most embalmed communist leaders no lingering is allowed, and you are slowly herded around the glass sarcophagus by security guards. Many will be disappointed as unlike the Mao Mausoleum, on exiting there is no kitsch memorabilia.

Bathed in a Liquid Cocktail

Every 18 months or so Lenin’s body is bathed in a liquid cocktail of chemicals in an attempt to preserve the almost 100 year old body. His clothes are washed and ironed. Every three years he is bought a new suit. During these housekeeping jobs the mausoleum is closed to the public.

Rumours continue to circle, much the same as with other embalmed leaders, that the body is not an original and that a wax figure was calved in his likeness. Many ponder this while standing in line. Needless to say, a visit is certainly in order for anyone spending time in Moscow. Be sure to arrive early as it is a popular attraction for tourists.


[one_half]Opening Hours: Tue to Thu: 10am to 1pm. Sat to Sun: 10 am to 1pm.[/one_half][one_half_last]Address: Krasnaya Ploshchad, Moscow, 109012, Russia[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Price: Free[/one_half][one_half_last]Website: http://www.lenin.ru/[/one_half_last]


Photo credit: Photo 2 by Jorge Láscar