GUM (an abbreviation for State Department Store, until 1921 – Upper Trading Rows) is a large shopping complex (department store) in the center of Moscow, which occupies the area of Kitay-Gorod and overlooks Red Square and the Kremlin with its main décor. It positions itself as the country’s premier department store and an entire shopping district.
The building, designed in 1893 in the Russian style, is an architectural monument of federal significance and is in federal ownership.
On the site of the dilapidated shops of the 18th century, under Catherine II, the design of a grandiose shopping center in the style of classicism began. Giacomo Quarenghi himself developed the project, but the construction was carried out hastily by the city architects and was not completed. After the fire of 1812, another master of classicism, Osip Bove, rebuilt the mall.
However, the building of the Upper Trading Rows quickly became dilapidated and obsolete. Already in 1869, the Moscow governor-general demanded that the city duma consider the issue of reconstructing the shopping complex.
In November 1888, a closed architectural competition was announced, which received 23 designs; one of the conditions of the competition was the conformity of the appearance of the new buildings with the style of other buildings on Red Square. The first prize (6,000 rubles) went to A. N. Pomerantsev, the second (3,000 rubles) to R. I. Klein, and the third (2,000 rubles) to A. E. Weber. Most of the competitive projects and all the awarded ones were very similar both in space-planning solutions and in style.
The dismantling of the old building began in the autumn of 1888; a year later, the foundations were laid, and the official laying ceremony of the new building took place on May 21, 1890. However, finishing work in some rooms continued until 1896.
In 1923, the building opened the State Department Store (GUM), run by the People’s Commissariat of the RSFSR.
In 1934-1936, a competition was held for projects for constructing a high-rise building of the Narkomtyazhprom.
Some of them called for the demolition of the GUM along with most of the neighboring buildings. But another project won – constructing a high-rise building on the site of Zaryadye.
The building was restored in 1952-1953, and in 1953, the State Department Store reopened in it. In the 1970s, another building restoration was started, completed in 1985.
In 1990, the store was incorporated, and in–1992 – privatized. Even though the store has ceased to be a state store, the name “GUM” has been retained and is used along with the old name – “Upper Trading Rows.”
In 1997–2001 and 2011–2012, fragmentary restoration work was carried out on the facades, in the lobbies, and in individual retail premises of the building, which was carried out according to the project of the architect-restorer M. B. Kanaev and under the scientific supervision of G. V. Mudrov. During the first stage of restoration, the building was illuminated with lines of electric light bulbs, emphasizing architectural elements and the building’s silhouette.
The building is leased from Mikhail Kusnirovich’s company Bosco d’ Ciliegi.
Working hours: daily, 10:00–22:00.
Address: Red Square, 3, Moscow.
Nearest metro stations: Okhotny Ryad, Teatralnaya, Revolution Square, Kitay-gorod.
Red square ensemble (full list):