GUM Moscow Reviews
A different kind of department store Aug 06, 2007
The name GUM stands for main department store, but since it consists of several independent shops, it is actually a shopping mall.
It was built as a large trading centre in 1890. The 242 meter wide façade is comparable in style to the Victorian train stations in London. The entire beautiful building has a combination of elements of Russian medieval architecture, a steel framework and a gorgeous glass roof.
The construction is split into several horizontal tiers, each arcade is on three levels, linked by walkways.
After the Russian Revolution, GUM was nationalized and continued to work as a department store until Stalin turned it into an office space in 1928.
In 1953, when it was reopened as a department store again, GUM became one of the few stores in the Soviet Union that wasn’t plagued by shortages of consumer goods, but the queues to actually buy anything were horribly long, often extending all over the Red Square.
At the end of the Soviet era, GUM was eventually privatized, and after passing through a number of owners, it was sold to Bosco di Viliegi, a Russian luxury goods distributor and boutique operator.
Today the shops mainly sell Gucci, Chanel, Prada and all the other meaningless designer labels one can think of. It is well worth to take a peek inside to admire the beautiful building and maybe have a drink at one of the terraces.
Part of the Western Russia 2007 travel blog
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