Lenin’s Mausoleum - History and Facts | History Hit

Lenin’s Mausoleum

Moscow, Moscow, Russia

Lenin’s Mausoleum is a granite crypt where visitors are invited to see the mummified body of former Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Lenin’s Mausoleum

Lenin’s Mausoleum is the final resting place of one of Russia’s most famous and ruthless leaders, Vladimir Lenin. The mausoleum borders Moscow’s Red Square.

History of Lenin’s Mausoleum

Born Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov on 22 April 1870, Lenin was a member of the Bolshevik division of Russia’s Social Democratic Workers’ Party. A revolutionary thinker and philosopher Lenin became the leader of the Bolshevik party before ascending to power as the first head of state of Soviet Russia as part of a coup d’état known as the October Revolution of 1917.

Lenin died of a stroke on 22 January 1924: despite his wishes to be buried next to his mother in St Petersburg, his body was embalmed and put on public display. More than 100,000 Russians came to pay their respects and view Lenin’s body over the next 6-8 weeks, and eventually it was decided it would be kept in a permanent mausoleum (as opposed to the hastily erected wooden one) on display in perpetuity, helping to fuel the cult of personality surrounding Lenin.

Soviet leaders regularly used the viewing platform above the mausoleum to oversee parades on Red Square. Stalin’s embalmed body was also on display in the mausoleum from his death in 1953 to 1961, when Soviet premiers began to distance themselves from Stalin’s policies. Multiple other major names in Soviet history are buried at the Kremlin Wall, including Stalin, Brezhnev, and Yuri Gagarin, amongst many others.

Ongoing preservation works are being undertaken by the Soviet government, including regular touch-ups to Lenin’s embalmed body and to the mausoleum itself. Rumours continue abound that the body on display is actually a fake, but there’s little evidence for this.

Lenin’s Mausoleum today

The mausoleum is still a major attraction – millions of people have visited in the past 100 years, and there’s normally a queue outside. Entry is free, but expect to have your bags and belongings searched. Photography is forbidden, you must be silent and respectful, and guards fiercely monitor behaviour within the mausoleum itself. Closed Mondays, Fridays and Sundays – check before visiting as other major parades or public holidays also alter opening hours and days. Even when the mausoleum is open, hours are limited (normally 10am – 1pm).

Getting to Lenin’s Mausoleum

Lenin’s Mausoleum is located just off Moscow’s famous Red Square, neat the entrance to the Alexander Garden – it’s unmissable. Red Square is most easily accessed via the trio of metro stations – Okhotnyy ryad (line 1), Teatralnaya (line 2), Ploschad’ Revolyutsii (line 3). All three are a five minute walk away from Red Square. Approach via the Marshal Zhukov monument for the most memorable impression.

Featured In

Historic Soviet Sites to Visit

From former nuclear bunkers to world-renowned museums, explore the history of the Soviet Union at these 10 sites in the former USSR.

Russia Historic Sites

Known for its vast landscape, turbulent history and striking buildings, Russia is brimming with historic sites. Here's our pick of 10 historical sites that make for essential visiting.