Top Ten Squares

Top Ten Squares

Saint Peter’s Square1

  1. Red Square, Moscow, Russia
           Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. As major streets of Moscow radiate from here in all directions, being promoted to major highways outside the city, Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow and all of Russia.
    Links: Top Ten Russian Attractions, Cities, Top Ten European Cities, Top Ten Asian Cities, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures,,
  2. Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City
    St. Peters BasilicaSaint Peter’s Square1
           Saint Peter’s Square is located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome (the Piazza borders to the East the rione of Borgo).
    Links: Top Ten Vatican City Attractions, Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten Obelisks, Top Ten Fountains, Top Ten Sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini,,
  3. The Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

           The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city’s Town Hall, and the Breadhouse. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels, along with the Atomium and Manneken Pis.
    Links: Top Ten Belgian Attractions,,
  4. Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), Venice, Italy

    Piazza San Marco (often known in English as St Mark’s Square), is the principal public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as “the Piazza.” All other urban spaces in the city (except the Piazzetta and the Piazzale Roma) are called “campi” (fields). The Piazzetta (the ‘little Piazza’) is an extension of the Piazza towards the lagoon in its south east corner. The two spaces together form the social, religious and political center of Venice and are commonly considered together. Napoleon is said to have called the Piazza San Marco “the drawing room of Europe.” It is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions,
  5. Parliament Square, England
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    Parliament Square is a square at the northwest end of the Palace of Westminster in London. It features a large open green area in the center with trees to its west and it contains numerous statues of statesmen and other notable individuals. As well as being one of London’s main tourist attractions, it is also the place where many demonstrations and protests are held. Symbolically it represents different arms of the state on each side of the square: legislature to the east (in the Houses of Parliament), executive offices to the north (on Whitehall), the judiciary to the west (the Supreme Court), and the church to the south (with Westminster Abbey).
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions,
  6. Place de la Concorde, Paris, France

           The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris, France. Measuring 8.64 hectares (21.35 acres) in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city’s eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures, Top Ten Obelisks, Top Ten Towers,,
  7. Tiananmen Square, China
    Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the third largest city square in the world (440,000 m² – 880 m by 500 m or 109 acres – 960 by 550 yd). It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history. Outside China, the square is best known in recent memory as the focal point of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a pro-democracy movement which ended on June 4th, 1989 with the declaration of martial law in Beijing by the government and the death of several hundred civilians.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese AttractionsTop 100 PeopleTop Ten RevolutionariesTop Ten ProtestersTop 100 Photographs,
  8. Palace Square, St. Petersburg, Russia

           Palace Square, connecting Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilievsky Island, is the central city square of St. Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire. It was the setting of many events of worldwide significance, including the Bloody Sunday (1905) and the October Revolution of 1917. The earliest and most celebrated building on the square is the baroque white-and-azure Winter Palace of Russian tsars (1754–62), which gave the square its name. Although the adjacent buildings are designed in the Neoclassical style, they perfectly match the palace in their scale, rhythm and monumentality. The opposite, southern side of the square was designed in the shape of an arc by George von Velten in the late 18th century. These plans were executed half a century later, when Alexander I of Russia envisaged the square as a vast monument to the Russian victory over Napoleon and commissioned Carlo Rossi to design the bow-shaped Empire-style Building of the General Staff (1819–29), which centers on a double triumphal arch crowned with a Roman quadriga. The center of the square is marked with the Alexander Column (1830–34), designed by Auguste de Montferrand. This red granite column (the tallest of its kind in the world) is 47.5 m high and weighs some 500 tons. It is set so well that no attachment to the base is needed. The eastern side of the square is occupied by Alessandro Brullo’s building of the Guards Corps Headquarters (1837–43). The western side, however, opens towards Admiralty Square, thus making the Palace Square a vital part of the grand suite of St Petersburg squares. The square also serves as open-air venue for concerts by international acts.
    Links: Top Ten Russian Attractions, Top Ten Columns/Pillars,
  9. Main Market Square, Kraków, Poland

           The Main Market Square in Kraków is the most important market square of the Old Town in Kraków, Poland and a principal urban space located at the center of the city. It dates back to the 13th century, and at roughly 40,000 m² (430,000 ft²), is the largest medieval town square in Europe. Rynek Główny is a spacious square surrounded by historical townhouses, palaces and churches. The center of the square is dominated by the Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall or Drapers’ Hall), rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style, topped by a beautiful attic or Polish parapet decorated with carved masks. On one side of the Sukiennice is the Town Hall Tower, on the other the 10th century Church of St. Wojciech (St. Adalbert’s) and 1898 Adam Mickiewicz Monument. Rising above the square are the Gothic towers of St. Mary’s Basilica (Kościół Mariacki).
    Links: Top Ten Polish Attractions, Top Ten Basilicas, Top Ten Towers,,_Krak%C3%B3w,
  10. Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic

           Wenceslas Square is one of the main city squares and the center of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic. Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. Formerly known as Koňský trh (English: Horse Market), for its periodic accommodation of horse markets during the Middle Ages, it was renamed Svatováclavské náměstí (English: Saint Wenceslas square) in 1848 on the proposal of Karel Havlíček Borovský.
    Links: Top Ten Czech Republic Attractions,,
  11. Bonus: Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy

    The Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”) is a wide, walled area at the heart of the city of Pisa, Tuscany, Italy, recognized as one of the main centers for medieval art in the world. Partly paved and partly grassed, it is dominated by four great religious edifices: the Duomo (cathedral), the Campanile (the cathedral’s free standing bell tower), the Baptistry and the Camposanto. It is otherwise known as Piazza dei Miracoli (“Square of Miracles”). This name was created by the Italian writer and poet Gabriele d’Annunzio who, in his novel Forse che si forse che no (1910) described the square in this way: “L’Ardea roteò nel cielo di Cristo, sul prato dei Miracoli. (The Ardea rotated over the sky of Christ, over the meadow of Miracles.)”
    Links: Top Ten Italian AttractionsTop Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Bell TowersTop Ten Bells,
  12. Bonus: Trafalgar Square, London, England

    Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, UK. At its center is Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year’s Eve. The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France. The original name was to have been “King William the Fourth’s Square,” but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name “Trafalgar Square.” In the 1820’s, George IV engaged the architect John Nash to redevelop the area. Nash cleared the square as part of his Charing Cross Improvement Scheme. The present architecture of the square is due to Sir Charles Barry and was completed in 1845. Trafalgar Square is owned by the Queen in Right of the Crown, and managed by the Greater London Authority, while Westminster City Council owns the roads around the square, including the pedestrianized area of the North Terrace.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures, Top Ten Fountains, Top Ten Columns/Pillars,,
  13. Bonus: Rossio, Lisbon, Portugal

           The Rossio is the popular name of the Pedro IV Square in the city of Lisbon, in Portugal. It is located in the Pombaline Downtown of Lisbon and has been one of its main squares since the Middle Ages. It has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions, and is now a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike. The current name of the Rossio pays homage to Pedro IV, King of Portugal as well as first Emperor of Brasil (as Pedro I). His bronze statue is seen on top of a column in the middle of the square.
    Links: Top Ten Portuguese Attractions, Top Ten Fountains, Top Ten Train Stations,
  14. Bonus: Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain

            The Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain is a large plaza located in the center of Salamanca, used as a public square. It was built in the traditional Spanish baroque style and is a popular gathering area. It is lined by restaurants, ice cream parlors, tourist shops, jewelry stores and a pharmacy along its perimeter except in front of the city hall. It is considered the heart of Salamanca and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful plazas in Spain. It is connected to the shopping area Calle del Toro from the northeast, Calle de Zamora from the north, the restaurants on Calle de Concejo from the northwest, Calle del Prior and the small Calle de la Caja de Ahorros from the west as well as Plaza del Corrillo from the south.
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions,,_Salamanca,
  15. São Paulo Square, Brazil

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