The first wooden Mausoleum, was constructed for the day of Lenin’s burial (27 January 1924), and was in the form of a cube, united with a three-sided pyramid. The second version of the mausoleum was constructed in the spring of 1924.
The laconic forms of the second mausoleum were used in the planning of the third, current version from concrete, with brick walls and a granite façade (1929-30). Inside the structure is a vestibule and mourning halls (1000 square meters). In 1930 a new guest platform, was added, and the graves near the Kremlin wall established.
During the great patriotic war, in July 1941, Lenin’s body was evacuated to the Urals, and in April 1945 returned to Moscow. In the 1945 the central platform of the mausoleum was built. From 1953 to 1961 the body of Stalin was also kept in the mausoleum and it was renamed “The Mausoleum of Lenin and Stalin”. The granite plate with the name Lenin was at this time replaced with a plate both leader’s names. In 1973 a bullet-proof coffin was installed.
The first post
Until October 1993, an honorary guard stood by the mausoleum, and was changed every hour at the signal of the Kremlin bells. In 1993, during the time of the constitutional crisis the post was abolished. Since 12 December 1997, the post has been re-established, but only at the grave of the Unknown Soldier.
The mausoleum as a stage
Starting with its construction the mausoleum has been used as a stage, upon which appeared representatives of the Politburo and Soviet government, and also honorary guests during various parades on Red Square. From the mausoleum, the general (first) secretary of the party addressed the parade’s participants. On the 9th of May 1995, a parade was held celebrating the 50th anniversary of victory against the Germans, during which, the mausoleum was used as a stage for the last time by Yeltsin, Chernomidrin, Luzhkov and other political figures. Starting in 1996, the victory parade was again conducted every year, but the directors of the parade used temporary stages, constructed every time on the lower steps of the Mausoleum.
Incidents in the mausoleum
19 March 1934: Mitrofan Nikitin tried to shoot the embalmed body. He was stopped and shot on the spot. A letter of protest, in the name of the party, was found on his body.
20 March 1959: A visitor threw a hammer at Lenin’s body, and broke the glass. The body was not harmed.
14 June 1960: K. Мinibaev kicked and broke the glass of the surrounding the body. The shards damaged the embalmed body of Lenin.
1 September 1973: An unknown assailant exploded a homemade bomb in the mausoleum. The criminal was killed and a few people were injured. The body was not harmed.
Essential Information for Visitors
Metro: Ploshchad Revolutsii
Closed Mondays and Fridays
To enter the mausoleum and the graves near the Kremlin wall visitors must assemble near the Nikolsky Tower. Visitors are not allowed to take photo or video equipment, mobile telephones, bags, large metal objects or bottles into the mausoleum with them. Bags have to be left in the room, on the corner of the history museum.