The “Main Department Store” (1891, architect A. Pomerantsev, engineers V. Shukhov, A. Loleyt) is a building whose main façade faces Red Square, and that itself makes it unique.
The combination of ancient Kremlin walls, the constructivist Lenin’s Mausoleum, and the traditional exterior of GUM is Moscow’s calling card and the city’s central panorama.
This historical spot - literally called the Upper Trading Rows – became embodied in this building, with its pseudo-Russian (or neo-Russian) style and famous overhead crossbeams, done by the outstanding engineer Vladimir Shukhov. The building lived through the revolution, Soviet transformations, and is now used as a department store again that houses many boutiques today.
In the 1930’s, they intended to demolish the building to add space to Red Square, make more room for military parades, and because of building the 8th Stalin Skyscraper. Luckily, the plan never materialized.
Today, it is worth visiting GUM to admire the architecture and interior, drop by Gourmet Food Store No. 1 (Gastronome №1), which offers traditional Russian and Soviet food products, or relax in a café with a view of Red Square.