24 January, 2014
A visit to Moscow is never complete without a visit to Moscow’s world famous Red Square (Красная площадь). In just one relativity small area, one can see many of the famous buildings and landmark Russia is known for. But what many people may not know, is that nearly one whole side of the square is lined by one massive shopping mall GUM (Главный универсальный магазин). No, it’s not pronounced “gum” like that which you chew, but rather more like “Goom” and is one of the most upper scale shopping centers in the world.
GUM is an acronym which translates from Russian to “Main Universal Store” and was the name of many different shopping centers all across the USSR. However, thanks to the Moscow store’s very ideal location on Red Square and medieval facade, it is the most famous of them all.
The current structure was originally commissioned to be build by an Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi for Catherine II of Russia. It replaced the previous trade center, which was destroyed by a great fire years prior in 1812. By the time the Communists took over and nationalized the center, it contained over 1,200 stores. The building continued to house stores throughout the Soviet period, except for a brief gap in the Stalin era.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the center was privatized and is now houses 200 stores. It features some of the most high class brands from the west and is popular among tourists thanks to its beautiful details.
Be sure to pay it a visit on your next trip to Red Square!