Behind its elaborate 240m-long facade on the northeastern side of Red Square, GUM is a bright, bustling shopping mall with hundreds of fancy stores and restaurants. With a skylight roof and three-level arcades, the spectacular interior was a revolutionary design when it was built in the 1890s, replacing the Upper Trading Rows that previously occupied this site.
Pronounced goom, the initials GUM originally stood for the Russian words for ‘State Department Store’. When it was privatised in 2005, the name was officially changed to ‘Main Department Store’. Fortunately, the words for ‘state’ and ‘main’ both start with a Russian ‘G’.