Russia II: The Red Square Part 4

So what’s been missing from the picture? If you’ve been following through from Part 1 til now, you might notice the starkly different architectural style that has been gathered on the Red Square. This time on the East of the Red Square (i.e. on the right of the State Historical Museum – remember on the left of the State Historical Museum stands Lenin’s Mausoleum) we see this:

The GUM (pronounced goom) is an acronym for the Russian equivalent of the “state universal store” and is the main department store for many international brands. Facing the Red Square, the GUM’s 242metres facade gives the Red Square yet another architectural wonder to boast of. Prior to the 1920s, the GUM was known as “upper trading  rows” and it was again, a unique and opulent building of its time, with its glass ceilings that looked nothing like the construction of St Basil’s Cathedral or the State Historical Museum. The GUM’s interior design is worthy of a visit even if you do not wish to splurge on the “exhibition of prices”. The GUM holds three rows of shop, each built on three levels. Some walkways doors act as dividers for the long rows of shops – it’s like walking from a chamber to the next – but there is no real division in the building, hence the extremely extended facade in the pictures above.

By 1917, the building hosted 1200 stores and was later nationalised, after which, a brief period saw to Stalin’s conversion of the GUM into his office space – I would have too, liked a little spot as my office in the brilliant building! I’m not a shopper, but this is one place you don’t want to miss when in the Red Square – even if it’s just to look at the wonderful architecture.

Moving on to some other other areas of the Red Square that I found interesting:
I had imprudently given little attention to the Resurrection Gates & the Iveron Chapel that you’ll pass through to enter the Red Square (there’s just so much history in this Square you couldn’t give attention to every part of it!), so here’s a little mention.

The Resurrection Gate symbolised by twin steeples used to have two golden double-headed eagles representative of Imperial Russia – but which was demolished during Stalin’s era to make way for none other than military demonstrations – heavy vehicles driving through the Square. Today what stands in its place is a replica. Between the doorways of the Gates stands the Iveron Chapel – originally a small wooden chapel that is today seen as a blue star-studded dome.

A bronze plaque marked on the ground signified Russia’s Kilometre Zero in Moscow – considered to be the centre of Moscow and is close by to the State Historical Museum. It is common to see many people standing on the Zero Kilometre medallion, throwing coins over their shoulders as they make a wish.

Enough said, I hope this has spurred some interest in visiting the area or giving some kind of orientation to the Square. There was just so much to learn about Moscow that it was imperative for me to start some kind of documentation for at least the Red Square. I must have missed many others and failed to do justice to the beauty of its history, so please share with me what you know too! Most importantly, remember to look out for these when you next visit!

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