Interesting facts about GUM in Moscow

GUM - the largest shopping center in Moscow, was opened on December 2, 1893. At that time, it was the largest trading establishment not only in Russia, but throughout Europe. Then this institution was called Upper Trading Rows. In 1889, the competition for the best project, which was won by the famous architect Alexander Pomerantsev, ended, and the groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 21, 1890. In total, up to 3, 000 workers were involved in the construction. The building itself was often later called "the city of Russian commercial capitalism". About five million rubles were spent on its construction.

During the demolition of the old trading rows, quite a few items were discovered that attracted the attention of historians and archaeologists. For example, the foundations of the chambers of the 16th century, military armor, weapons and many coins of the era of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.

The opening of the Upper Trading Rows was attended by the Moscow Governor General Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich with his wife. Tens of thousands of buyers came here every day. On the first day alone, it was visited by about 60, 000 people. Premises in Ryady were rented by such famous entrepreneurs as Shustov, Smirnov, Brokar, Abrikosov. It also housed a hairdresser, a dentist's office, a post office and a bank.

In some departments, complaint books appeared and price tags were posted. Now buyers no longer had the opportunity to bargain with sellers; the goods had to be purchased at a fixed price. Among the famous visitors was Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, who bought a watch here from Mikhail Kalashnikov.

In 1921, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin signed the "Regulations on GUM", now the trade establishment was given a new name - the State Department Store. The era of the NEP began in the country, therefore, there were many who wanted to rent premises in the very center of Moscow. But with the end of the New Economic Policy, GUM itself fell into decay. What was not in the GUM building in the thirties - commission shops selling confiscated property, offices of officials, barracks and even communal apartments.

In 1935, the building was threatened with demolition. The authorities decided that this nest of "bourgeois trade" could be demolished by erecting more useful objects in their place, for example, buildings of the people's commissariats. What saved GUM is still a mystery. According to one version, L, P, Beria, who had a cozy office here, spoke out against the demolition. Interestingly, it was from the GUM building on May 9, 1945 that Yuri Levitan was reporting on the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.

After the war, instead of GUM, it was planned to build a huge monument "Tribune of victories of the Russian people" designed by the architect Sergei Nanushyan. But, for some reason, the demolition of GUM was never started, and in December 1953, a huge shopping complex was reopened here, before the opening of which a large-scale reconstruction was carried out. GUM again began to attract a huge number of Muscovites and guests of the capital. GUM opened its doors to buyers on December 24, and on the eve of this event L.P. Beria was shot.

But, the fate of the largest shopping center in Moscow has often hung in the balance. For example, the main ideologist of the party, Mikhail Andreevich Suslov, once said that next to the line to the Mausoleum there is another, no less line, for sausage and shoes. Wouldn't it be better to clear Red Square from such a neighborhood? GUM survived again. Now popular rumor has ranked the daughter of Leonid I. Brezhnev Galina as his defenders, who made orders in the GUM studio.

And the queues at GUM were really huge. In the reports of the Ministry of Internal Affairs it was noted that "in connection with the expansion of trade in goods of high demand, the flow of buyers has sharply increased, " even the police did not always manage to control the situation. Cramps often resulted in serious injuries to customers, in addition, counters were often collapsed and glass shattered.

One of the main attractions of GUM is the fountain. It was founded back in 1906, and then had a round bowl. The modern octagonal base was made in 1953 during renovation.

The architect Pomerantsev was well aware that a grandiose shopping center would attract a huge number of people, therefore, in his project he paid due attention to the toilet. In the room it was possible, among other things, to take, for example, a shower. The interior was decorated with bronze lamps and imported faience. The Bolsheviks considered such a chic design an excess, possible only in bourgeois society. The toilet has been redesigned to be much more modest. Only in 2012 it was restored according to the surviving drawings.

For many years GUM has been famous for its ice cream. This dessert in the Soviet Union was made strictly in accordance with GOST, therefore, it was considered the best in the world. Traditionally, every year GUM hosts an ice cream day, and the proceeds are donated to charity.