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Lenin's Mausoleum
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Lenin's Mausoleum

Lenin's Mausoleum, also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square, Moscow, Russia, is the resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since the year he died, 1924.

The day Lenin died the Soviet government received more than a 1000 telegrams from all over Russia with pleas not to bury his body and somehow preserve it for future generations. On the morning of January 22, Professor Aleksei Abrikosov – a prominent Russian pathologist and anatomist (not to be confused with a physicist Alexei Abrikosov) – embalmed Lenin’s body to keep it intact until the burial. On the night of January 23, an architect Aleksei Schusev was given a task to design and build a tomb in 3 days that would be able to sift through all those who wanted to say their goodbyes to Lenin. On January 26, the decision was made to place the tomb at the Red Square by the Kremlin Wall. By January 27, Schusev built a tomb out of wood and at 4 p.m. that day they placed Lenin’s coffin in it. More than 100,000 people visited the tomb within a month and a half. By August of 1924, Schusev upgraded the tomb to a bigger version. An architect Konstantin Melnikov designed Lenin’s sarcophagus.

In 1929, it was established that it would be possible to preserve Lenin’s body for a much longer period of time. Therefore, it was decided to exchange the wooden mausoleum with the one made of stone (architects Aleksei Schusev, I.A.Frantsuz, and G.K.Yakovlev). They used marble, porphyry, granite, labradorite, and other construction materials. In October of 1930, the construction of the stone tomb was finished. In 1973, sculptor Nikolai Tomsky designed a new sarcophagus.

On January 26, 1924 the Head of the Moscow Garrison issued an order to place the Guard of Honor at the mausoleum. Russians call it the "Number One Sentry". After the events of the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, the Guard of Honor was disbanded.

More than 73 million people visited Lenin’s tomb between 1924 and 1972.

Though supposedly "rejuvenated" annually by Russian undertakers, Lenin's body looks so waxed that many people wonder if the body is still real. Some parts might be fake, or partially fake for the needs of presentability but both the former Soviet government and the current Russian authorities refuse to comment on the topic of the body's authenticity.

Joseph Stalin's embalmed body shared a spot next to Vladimir Lenin, from the time of his death in 1953 until October 31, 1961, when Stalin was removed and buried elsewhere.

Boris Yeltsin intended to close the tomb and give Lenin a real burial place, but did not achieve this while he was in power.

Officially, the tomb is open every day from 9:00 to 13:00, except on Mondays and Fridays. This is, of course, subject to fluctuation which can be due to several factors, such as the time of day or the weather.

See also: List of Memorials