The long building of the GUM is opposite the Moscow Kremlin on the western side of the Red Square. This Russian abbreviation means the «State Department Store». On one hand, it is a regular shopping center, but it is also a landmark of the Red Square.
As is known, for several centuries the Red Square was the main market place of Moscow. The trading rows were right at the walls of the Kremlin. However, at the end of the 18 century, under Catherine II, it was decided to move them from the Red Square into a big shopping center. But for decades the project remained unfinished.
The need of such building became urgent in 1812, when the central part of Moscow was burnt down during the invasion of Napoleon. This made it possible to clear the Red Square of the old structures and erect the building that we cans see today.
The building named the Upper Trading Rows was constructed in the neo-Russian style by the architect Joseph Bove. In 1921 the Upper Trading Rows were renamed the State Department Store or simply the GUM.
In the recent years the GUM became not only a common store but also the place of various exhibitions. You can see clothes, motor-cars, concert garments and many other things there. It is interesting to go there not only for shopping but also for walks.