Place of Skulls


The 13m circular stone platform in front of St Basil's Cathedral is known as the Place of Skulls. Legend has it that it was the site of executions, including those of the Streltsy rebels. In reality, it was a stage for tsarist decrees and religious ceremonies.

Members of the Pussy Riot punk collective famously climbed it in December 2011 to record a video clip for a song called 'Putin pissed himself'.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Moscow attractions

1. Red Square

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Immediately outside the Kremlin’s northeastern wall is the celebrated Red Square, the 400m-by-150m area of cobblestones that is at the very heart of…

2. Minin & Pozharsky Statue

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Out front of St Basil’s Cathedral is a statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, one a butcher and the other a prince, who together raised and led the…

3. St Basil's Cathedral

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At the southern end of Red Square stands the icon of Russia: St Basil’s Cathedral. This crazy confusion of colours, patterns and shapes is the culmination…

4. Saviour Gate Tower

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The Kremlin’s ‘official’ exit onto Red Square is the stately red-brick Saviour Gate Tower. This gate – considered sacred – has been used for processions…

5. Lenin's Mausoleum


Although Vladimir Ilych requested that he be buried beside his mum in St Petersburg, he still lies in state at the foot of the Kremlin wall, receiving…

7. Moscow Kremlin

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The apex of Russian political power and once the centre of the Orthodox Church, the Kremlin is the kernel of not only Moscow, but of the whole country…

8. Senate

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The offices of the president of Russia, the ultimate seat of power in the modern Kremlin, are in the yellow, triangular former Senate building, a fine…