The GUM galleries is a huge shopping center, one of the largest in Europe, its main facade faces the Red Square.
The first stores date from the time of Iván El Terrible, divided according to the type of merchandise to be sold: ribbons, soaps, cosmetics, powders, etc., caps (one for men and one for women), footwear, etc. That chaotic and motley market that stretched from Trapería Street (Vetoshny proezd) to Lubianka Street had existed in the Red Square until the early 19th century.
That market has been occupied, during later years, with many other shops, but not only stores but also has been a commercial area, for a time it was also a building where government offices were located, when entering the Communism in Russia the department stores such as they were an emblem of capitalism and as such could not exist, so they were closed and reopened as administration offices of the central government.
Subsequently, and after the exit of communism in 1991, the stores of the GUM, emblem of capitalism and commerce in Russia were privatized and bought by a businessman based in St. Petersburg, owner of “Bosco”, this textile businessman bought 50.25% of the surface, today it owns 80% of this same surface. He is one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Russia. Creator of the equipment of the Olympic team.
GUM is one of the largest, most beautiful and prestigious department stores in Russia. It is located in the heart of the capital, in the Red Square and attracts visitors from all over the world. We study its history and discover how GUM became the main fashion direction of Russia.
There are shopping centers with the name of GUM in many cities in Eastern Europe, but none of them can be compared with the original GUM in the Red Square in Moscow. Throughout the centuries of its existence, department stores have become a legend: they still delight visitors and should become a must-see point on their route through Moscow.
The upper commercial ranks (the so-called GUM in the first years of its existence) are designed in the pseudo-Russian style. The construction was carried out between 1890 and 1893 under the direction of the architect Alexander Pomerantsev and the engineer Vladimir Shukhov, ambitious professionals and supporters of advanced ideas. The main building is made in the form of a commercial gallery, while those galleries were built in all the cities of Europe, from Milan to Paris. But the scale and scope of Pomerantsev and Shukhov’s work were not the same across the continent. It is impossible to believe that only four years have passed since the approval of the project until the opening ceremony.
The top shopping centers have become a symbol of the new Moscow: they replaced the old Russian market and consisted of stores of various price and size categories. Under a beautiful glass ceiling, wholesale stores, offices, restaurants, hairdressers, exhibition halls, studios and, of course, several boutiques were located.
Prestigious stores occupied a special place: the Sapozhnikov brothers brought silk and brocade to Moscow, Mikhail Kalashnikov sold Patek Philippe watches to Leo Tolstoy and Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and the Brocard perfume store supplied perfumes to the Imperial Court. High commercial ranks were considered the center of Russian capitalism of the pre-revolutionary era.
- The GUM building is designed in a pseudo-Russian style and resembles European shopping centers, such as the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery in Milan.
Since then, several times have changed, the country has changed beyond recognition. But GUM remains a coveted and busy department store in the heart of Moscow’s life. It is still in the same building, and its facade still faces the Red Square. In this unique place, the greatness of Russian history and the innovative trends of our time merge. And this makes GUM an attraction as important as the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Theater.
In the GUM passage, almost everything you want is sold: from clothes and accessories to watches and jewelry, from cosmetics to food and drinks, from books and toys to everyday supplies. You can watch a movie in a restored cinema, go through a pharmacy, bank or flower shop, and then go to a children’s club with your children. And of course, department stores have many coffee shops with drinks and takeaways, coffee shops and restaurants, including picturesque views of the Red Square.
- The beautiful fountain in the heart of the gallery has become a meeting place for many in GUM
But the main thing that motivates more than 60,000 people to visit GUM every day is world class brands. Here are the key brands of clothing, accessories, cosmetics, watches, jewelry and much more. Explore the new collections of Burberry, Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara and many others, watch watches or brilliant jewels from Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany. The big brands also choose GUM for the flagship stores, which confirms the special status of this place in the Russian luxury segment.
Customer service makes shopping at GUM even more attractive, and customers come back again and again just for it. More than 2000 people work to ensure that their impressions are as pleasant as possible. Pay attention to the beautiful gift wrappers, valet parking, an interesting loyalty program and even the beautifully preserved old bathrooms.
- GUM celebrates interesting events throughout the year, including seasonal festivals.
In the center of the passage is the famous fountain, one of Moscow’s most popular attractions for photographs (and Instagram posts). From the first days of work, the fountain has become a meeting place for visitors. Last but not least, thanks to the nearest cafe that serves the best ice cream in the city. Be sure to try vanilla, chocolate or burnt cream: for many Muscovites it is the favorite taste of childhood.
In the famous “Deli No. 1” food from all over the world is sold: fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fresh meat and fish. A variety of canned food and beef jerky remind of the Soviet past. Be sure to check out the wine collection, one of the best in Moscow, and professional sommeliers will help you navigate the assortment. The store also has freshly baked cakes, local pastry sweets and Swiss and Belgian chocolates. And the open kitchen prepares fresh and hot dishes.
- In the summer, during the festival of flowers, GUM department stores become a garden of Eden.
In addition to the main boutiques, excellent restaurants and other wonderful offers, GUM has become famous for its cultural events. Among them: fashion shows, exhibitions of paintings and photographs, seasonal festivals. For example, in summer, a department store becomes a bright garden during a flower festival, and in winter, a huge ice rink opens on Red Square.
In 2018, GUM became one of the first stores in Russia where the Tax Free tax return service was available to foreign visitors. Now citizens of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Tajikistan, as well as other countries outside the UAE, can save up to 18% on their purchases.
- In winter, GUM opens a large skating rink, which Muscovites come from throughout the city.
GUM is an incredible combination of historical charm with modern comfort. Thanks to this, it became the most interesting department store and one of the main attractions of Moscow.