The GUM department store building along the northeast side of the Red Square in Moscow with the Kazan Cathedral on the left. The Red Square is the most important and central square in Russia’s capital and historically separated the Kremlin (the seat of the Tsar and today of the President) from the trade quarter Kitay-Gorod. The name is derived from the original russian name Красная Площадь (Krasnaja Ploschtschad), which originally meant “the beautiful square” since Krasnaja means “beautiful” as well as “red” (today it tends to be used in the sense of the colour).
The area around the Red Square developed into a busy street market early on. So in the early 19th century russians started to built trade buildings for the markets. Northeast of the square on higher grounds the “Upper Trading Rows” were errected, a name the modern building also beared when it opened in 1893. It was built after plans of Alexander Pomerantsev and Vladimir Shukhov in neo-russian, historicistic style, a mix of traditional russian architecture with modern neo-classicistic, western european elements. Almost 250 metres in length it stretches along one side of the Red Square. Starting as the leading Moscow trade house, it lost its commercial status gradually after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was used for governmental offices and closed for the public for decades. Its demolition was discussed as well. When Stalin died the politics changed and the GUM reopened as a socialistic model department store in 1953. GUM is an abbreviation of Glawny Uniwersalny Magasin, which means “Main Universal Store”. In USSR cities there were several GUM department stores. After 1990 the building was renovated once more and reopened as Moscow’s luxury shopping temple.
The russian-orthodox Cathedral of our Lady of Kazan, on the left side, originally dates from the early 17th century. First built as a wooden church, it was rebuild following a fire as a brick church in 1636. Following numerous renovations which altered the original design, it was demolished by order of Stalin in 1936. After 1990 the Kazan Cathedral was the first church destroyed by the communists to be reconstructed (1990-1993).
This panorama of Moscow was presented in week 3 of our 101 weeks 101 cities of europe project.