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6 Jul, 2007 18:22

Kremlin bids for “New Wonder of the World” title

On Saturday, there'll be new Seven Wonders of the World will be announced, following a global internet poll. 21 sites were nominated among them the Sydney Opera House, Paris' Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal in India. Moscow's Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathed

Red Square is in fact neither red nor square. And it doesn't get its name from the link between the colour red and communism. It's so called because the Russian word for red – “krasnaya” – used to mean beautiful, so originally the square was called beautiful.

Established in the 15th century, the impressive plaza has seen religious festivals, public speeches and mass executions.

Each building on the square is distinctive.

“In the whole world, it's rather difficult to find such a concentration of historical monuments of such a great importance for different epochs, from the 15th century to the 20th century,” says Dmitri Shvidkovsky from Russian Academy of Fine Arts.

The square separates the historic merchants' quarter from the Kremlin, now the official residence of the Russian President. Inside the former royal fortress is a complex of palaces and churches. At the south end of Red square lies St Basil's Cathedral, a montage of onion domes and spires with distinct patterns. Commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 1550's, it has been enchanting the eyes of its visitors ever since. Legend has it that Ivan the Terrible was so impressed with the St Basils Cathedral, that he had the architect blinded so he could never design something as beautiful again.

Tourists say Red Square and the surrounding buildings are truly wondrous.

“These buildings represent different periods of Russian life. St Basils Cathedral is most beautiful and the Kremlin walls are very imposing but when you go inside you find many unexpected and beautiful things,” says one of them.

“I think they're some of the most recognisable icons in the world and certainly have historical significance. It's surreal to be here,” believes another.

But could this place really be worthy of being dubbed one of the New Seven Wonders of the World? Those who've seen it with their own eyes think it fits the bill. But will the rest of the world agree? We’ll soon find out.