The Glavni Uniwersalny Magazin (GUM) (Russian: Глáвный универсáльный магазѝн) (pronounced Goom) literally Main Universal Store is the most famous shopping mall in Moscow. The GUM department store is located at one end of the Red Square in the area called Kitai-Gorod, not far from the Kremlin
The GUM department store is a blend of ancient Russia and modern Russia. Shoppers will find luxury boutiques, tech service shops, jewelry shops, bakeries, wine shops, restaurants, pharmacies, and coffee shops. The famous brands include Paul Smith, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Dior, Calvin Klein Jeans, and Bosco. The shopping center is open from 10 am to 10 pm. Visitors can browse through the luxury shops, visit cinema or in some winter months the skating rink (during Winter).
The state department store has more than just luxury goods stores and brand name shops. The giant glass roof runs along the length of it illuminating the inside with natural lighting. They frequently have displays and decorations set up at different times of the year for different holiday celebrations. Don’t think that just because the GUM was built more than 100 years ago that it doesn’t have all the modern amenities of shopping centers more recently built.
The ice rink is owned by the GUM department store, but the rink is actually located on Red Square. A skating session lasts for 1 hour, 20 minutes with breaks every 40 minutes. The entry fee costs between 120 Rubles and 400 Rubles. A pair of skates for adults cost 250 Rubles, children under 12 also pay 100 Rubles for a pair of skates. Skaters need to deposit an ID card or 2000 Rubles to be able to rent a pair of skates. The rink is open from November 30th to February 28th every year, possibly for less time depending on weather conditions.
There is also a cinema that also opens at 10 am. The cinema, however, runs 2 more movie sessions even after the shopping centers close at 10 pm. Visitors are expected to pass through metal detectors before entering the store. Given all the high end shops located within the mall, American Black Express cards are accepted.
A visit to the GUM department store is not complete until you have tried the ice cream sold at the mall. The ice cream at the GUM is made using the old traditional Soviet Union recipes. The ice cream cost 50 Rubles.
Architect Joseph Bove replaced the wooden trading rows with stone trading rows after the Moscow fire in 1812. Catherine the Great later commissioned Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi to design a huge trade center to replace the Upper Trading Rows. The building housed 1200 shops by the year 1917. The GUM became a state property in the 1920s.
The GUM department store operated as a retail enterprise that served customers throughout Russia. The building was however converted into an office space in Stalin’s era. The building became the meeting place of the committee that worked on Josef Stalin’s Five Year Plan. The GUM was also used to display the body of Nadezhda, Stalin’s wife after she committed suicide in 1932.
The GUM department store was reopened on December 24, 1953, the store was well stocked making it one of the few stores that did not have a shortage of consumer goods. The shopping lines were very long, often going well into or beyond Red Square. The GUM department store was later owned by a supermarket company called Perekrestok. In May 2005, part of the Store (50.25%) was sold to a Russian boutique operator, Bosco di Ciliegi.
The GUM was formerly called Gosudarstvennyi Universalny Magazin which literally means State Universal Store. After the privatization, the (Gosudarstvennyi) State was changed to Glavnyi (Main) to maintain the abbreviation.
The GUM department store runs a loyalty system that rewards customers for high purchases. There are three loyalty cards; Gold, Silver, and Maroon. The customers who also make purchases can receive the Maroon card. Customers who spend up to 120,000 Rubles are eligible for the Silver card. Finally customers who accumulate 1.2 million Rubles in any GUM department store shop are issued the Gold card. The cards give a discount of anywhere from 1 to 15% off purchases, however generally it is 5% off for Maroon, 10% off for Silver and 15% off for Gold. Visit the GUM department store website for more information.
Cards are issued at the information desk once customers present purchase slips. Apple products, as well as paid services, are exceptions to the discount program. Customers with the loyalty cards have access to discounts on Valet parking.
There is a demonstration hall available for rent for fashion shows, concerts, receptions, corporate events, weddings, seminars, presentations etc. More information on leasing processes is available at this website.
Other points of interest nearby are: Kilometer Zero, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, The Kremlin, The Kremlin Armory, The State Historical Museum, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
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