GUM is a three-storied shopping arcade near the Red Square in Moscow. In the past, the Red Square was a market place, but late Russian merchants built a building for the market rows. It still looks like a part of the city space with its three lanes, which are called ‘lines’, and a square with a fountain in the centre. Many people visit GUM as a landmark, but there some other things one can do in GUM except shopping.
When the weather is not good enough - it is raining, or cold, or too hot outside, GUM is used as a promenade. People walk along its lines under the glass roof, listen to the music, and enjoy its decorations. The interior always corresponds to the season, and you can sit on a bench under the snow-covered rowans, blooming cherries or green birches. Thematic decorations are very attractive and constantly change: the dirigibles are replaced by giant sweets, and bicycles follow flowerbeds.
After the reconstruction in 1953, a demonstration hall was created, and everyday visitors could watch a fashion show with music and beautifully dressed pretty girls. Nowadays, GUM shops demonstrate new fashion trends.
Many people in Moscow share the opinion that the most delicious ice-cream in the city can be tasted in GUM. Ice-cream is sold in GUM in different places – ice-cream carts, a food shop and cafes. But what they mean is a particular kind of ice-cream in crispy wafer cups, sold in small kiosks at each end of the lines.
GUM often becomes an exhibition place. There are two annual exhibitions taking place here - the exhibition of New Year trees in winter and that the other one of flowers in summer. Other exhibitions are temporary. In previous years, we could admire the old photos of Moscow, stage clothes of music stars and even see how GUM visitors looked like at different times.
If you lose your companions during the promenade, a speaker's voice reminds you that you can meet in the centre of GUM near the fountain. This place attracts not only those who are lost, but all the visitors, and the arrows will show you the way. Sometimes, the fountain is hidden inside a giant decorated New Year tree or Trinity birch.
There are about ten different bars and cafes in GUM, where you can have a bite or take lunch or just a cup of coffee. They can satisfy different tastes offering fresh fruit snacks or a perfect combination of Russian caviar and vodka or pancakes with different fillings. Canteen Stolovaya No 57 takes you to a gastronomic journey to the Soviet Union with traditional dishes of that time, like baked puddings and dried fruit drinks, Olivier salad and dressed herring, borsch and pelmeni, pies and pickles. Take a cup of coffee on a bridge, and enjoy a panorama of GUM from up above.
GUM keeps the traditions and challenges of the time. The past and the present entwine here. There is a cinema hall, a lift and a historical restroom with the interiors of the early 20th century. Except shopping, one can see an exhibition, taste traditional Russian food and drinks, know the newest fashion trends and feel the coolness of the fountain. Bright decorations, exhibitions and music create the atmosphere of festivity, that many visitors like in Moscow's GUM.
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