Where to go?, Moscow
We used to have three major department stores in Moscow – GUM, TsUM and Detsky Mir, all rhyming very happily, and GUM was the first among its peers.
Though regarded at once as a tourist attraction, GUM was very popular among us natives; I remember buying a few pairs of shoes there, after an hour-long queue.
Today you will know more about this place than I do; Muscovites are seldom seen within the Boulevard ring these days.
GUM (The State Department Store), officially inaugurated by Alexander III, December 02, 1893.
Open 10:00 - 22:00
All photos - courtesy GUM
See my GUM travelogue, too :)
What to buy: Try people watching, it's normally free - depending on the object
What to pay: Consult Star Trek team - after their visit to Moscow
Although Russian craft brewing scene is mostly concentrated in St Petersburg, you can taste IPAs and stouts from Russian microbreweries in Moscow. Not in bars, they mostly offer mainstream Russian and imported brands.
GlavPivMag (ÃëàâÏèâÌàã) – a beer shop near Novokuznetskaya metro station (very central location) looks similar to other Moscow’s draft beers shops that sell in plastic bottles (1, 1.5, and 2 liters) but has a unique craft selection. About 20 beers on tap and a few bottled ones are always available at moderate price. «On tap» here means that a counterman fills a plastic bottle from keg and you take it home.
What to buy: Hoppy and bitter ales seem to be bestsellers and there are usually 4-5 IPAs/APAs. Some of them boast extreme bitterness, for example RedRum IPA from AF Brew with 123 IBU (!) - Russian beer geeks are thirsty for hoppy and bitter drink not generally available before recently. Some nice stouts are always available on tap, however don’t expect thick nitrogen foam. There is also a selection of fine blonde and dark lagers, most of them taste rich and hoppy compared to Russian bottled lagers. Lagers and stouts range doesn’t change much but new ales arrive quite often. Belgian style ales are rare guests. Weizens don’t really impress.
All above are on tap. Bottled selection is not that rich – just a few ales/stouts from Russian micros, some of them expensive in Champaign-style bottles and a few lagers including Ukrainian and Belorussian (no other imported beers except for them). Traditional beer snacks like dried fish available.
Eugeny, the owner is always present at the counter himself, friendly and helpful. Prepare to stand in a queue for some time if you come in the evening. You can have half liter of any beer in a plastic glass to quench your thirst immediately.
What to pay: Not overpriced. 150-300 rub per liter.
This plaice is small and modest and belong to church.
Street itself is must see in Moscow . It has very interesting history- it's one of the first streets in Moscow, was founded before 11 centery. In 11 centery British embassy located there.
What to buy: Pretty good choise of Russian souvenirs with very reasonable price.
Open 12pm - 7pm daily
What to pay: from $3
The big shopping center "European" near to the Kiev station. Here in such centers modern teenagers likes to spend time. Many various little shops and small cafes. ice skating rink, bowling and other entertainments.
Trade center "European" is very popular among well-paid citizens. It has great location, wide range of goods, 8 floors, 500 shops. Prices higher than average.
Also cinema, supermarket, electronics store, food court.
The square is in touristic field as southern trains arrive to Kievskaya train station and boat trips start from moorage. In center of square stands monument in honour of friendship with Eupore with all their flags. There is small park with benches where you can have a rest, snack and wait for your boat. Big Dorogomilovskaya street leads from trade center "European" to Old Arbat street. You can see the White house from its bridge. Glass pedestrian bridge (another one) is extremely beautiful in night illumination.
Beware of gypsies at public parking. Their children are very curious about money in your pockets while their mother predicting your fortune.
What to buy: If you are coming from tropic countries in winter, you may discover that you are frozen in your warmest clothes. Looking for another winter outfit I combed 3 molls and finally found the best proposal here.
What to pay: $400 for white fox topcoat, $200 for fur jackboots. High quality.
Wide variety of jewelry from diffirent cultures: Slavonian, Siberian, Celtic, Indian, Chineese, Scandinavian. Also music, talons, runes, knives, posters, pipes.
They look like been found in archeological excavations. Highest quality for reasonable price.
You can book goods to be sure that they will be available.
What to buy: Ethnic crafts from silver, bronze, leather, wood. I buy them as presents for female colleagues at big holidays. Next will be Valkyrie sign for my birthday. Yeah, I know, it's man's amulet.
What to pay: $50 for neck amulets. All range of goods $5-1000.
Sometimes I look for really unusual stuff for presents.
If you consider tzar's and soviet eras outdated, look at this catalogue in English: store.artlebedev.com/
Variety of goods from $15 fridge magnets to $200 smart gadgets.
Artemiy Lebedev is the most famous russian web-designer who also entertains himself by constructing these things. He also posesses several cafes though I haven't tried them yet.
What to buy: Modern souvenirs
What to pay: $50
If you google Eliseev Gastronom (Tverskaya 14), you will find lots of information. To save you time look at these photos – it’s over 110 years old now.
Depending on how much time you have you may then walk down Tverskaya street to the Red square and the Kremlin. If you have one of those fancy smartphones, make use of QR codes on the walls of the buildings. Sometimes they accompany an outdoor picture gallery.
What to buy: Food - if you can afford it.
Or just take pictures.
The GUM "State Department Store" was built between 1890 and 1893. The building consists of three parallel 3-storey arcades with galleries.
It mainly houses a wide variety of foreign stores and designer boutiques of western brand names. Afdter the perestroika most of the brands were keen on this prestigious address for their flagship store in Russia.
On the top level you find many fast food restaurants. For more details please read my "Restaurant Tips".
The GUM is located on the north eastern side of Red Square (Metro: Okhotny Ryad).
Address: GUM, Krasnaya ploshchad 3, Moscow
I found it quite interesting to browse through Russian bookshops. Besides a wide variety of books, they often also have a selection of CDs, DVDs, calendars and small souvenirs.
The largest bookshop in Moscow is probably "Dom Knigi" (House of Books). It is located at the street ul. Noviy Arbat 8 (Metro: Arbatskaya).
Another well known and centrally located bookshop is "Moskva Knigi" (Moscow Books) at the street ul. Tverskaya 8 (Metro: Tverskaya).
Dom Knigi - Website: http://www.mdk-arbat.ru/
Moscow Books - Website: http://www.moscowbooks.ru/
"Eliseevsky" Store was build long time before the revolution 1917 (opened in 1901) and was the best in Moscow even in soviet time. The name " Gastronom #1" was not used, as the moscovites called it "Elissevsky".
Store is considered to be the first one in Moscow till now.
In the museum interiors of the beginning of the last century a splendid chosen assortment of food, various articles of own production are introduced, also a department of Russian souvenirs is opened.
A lot of people attend "Eliseevsky" every day, the other come here as if for some excursion and the administrators and shop-assistants who had special training are ready to answer all your questions.
What to buy: Assortment of bread, pies, cakes, fancy cakes, exclusive hand-made chocolate from the own sweet-shop strike.
"Eliseevsky" Store offers plenty of ready dishes: borsch in Moscow way, salad boyarsky, sturgeon in aspic, faintly-salted salmon, baked carp, chicken-roll with prunes and cheese, mushrooms marinated, freshly-salted cucumbers etc.
What to pay: Depend
Fur is making a comeback across the fashion capitals – no self-respecting fashionista would be caught this season without a fur coat, vest, stole or – at the very least – some fur trim on that fabulous new handbag. As winter arrives in Moscow, so too does the chance for Tverskaya boutiques and market salesmen alike to get their fur coats and accessories back on the rack.
If you’re new to the infamous Russian winter, or if you’ve just never gotten around to buying a fur, the variety of coats, outlets and price ranges can be daunting.
Which type of fur should you buy? Should you venture out to one of the local markets or stick to boutiques? What tender loving care do you need to bestow on your precious new purchase? We set out on a shopping spree to find answers to these questions and more.
What to buy: Make sure that the pelts are well-matched, supple and even in sheen.
Good workmanship is essential. Check that the seams are sewn tightly and evenly and that the hems fall straight.
The easiest way to check a coat’s quality is to feel it. The underfur should be uniformly textured and guard hairs should be soft and lustrous.
Check its weight when you’re trying it on. Particularly at the lower price range, some furs can be very heavy, and you don’t want to be lugging an extra 2 kilograms or more around.
Buy a coat that falls to mid-thigh at the very least – you’ll need it in this weather.
What to pay: depend...
Ramstore chain is distinguished by a variety of formats - trade centers, hyper- and supermarkets, and convenient stores. According to the trade format, the assortment of a store may include from 10 to 35 thousand articles of goods.
What to pay: depend
open: 8:00 - 24:00
Many people are under the impression that Russia still suffers from Soviet Era shortages, and that they will have to bring their own jeans and chewing gum with them.
I cannot speak for all of Russia, but in Moscow this is definately not the case. In Moscow you can buy whatever you need, almost anytime you want it. All the major stores have at least a presence in the Russian capital.
Large format mega stores like Ramstore, IKEA, Metro and others have set-up shop on the outskirts of Moscow and along major transportation routes, such as on the way to Sheremetyevo II airport along Leningradskiy & Tverskaya Boulevards. Actually, local shoppers can exacerbate already problematic traffic jams in the evenings and on weekends. Hmm, just like anywhere else in the world?
What to buy: In the city center you will still find major stores for all-purpose shopping like the Seven Continents grocery store and Smolensky Passage department stores located at Smolenskaya metro station on Smolensky Boulevard along the Garden Ring Road.
There are also cheaper shopping alternatives from small mom & pop kiosks along all major roads and in most neighborhoods near the metro station to Garbuschka market, which is famed for its electronics, games & music selection.
Garbuschka market is basically a very large bazaar where traders in Soviet times used to sell bootleg copies of music and other semi-banned, semi-tolerated merchandise. Today it has morphed into a huge home entertainment and home appliance market where you will find almost everything for less. However, beware there are many fakes & phonies being sold, too. So, if the price is right fine, but don't expect your warranty card to be worth the paper it's printed on if you have problems later.
What to pay: less for local goods & imitations, and more for most imported and brand name items.
In 1890-93, the Upper Trading Rows (now GUM) were erected in the so-called "Russian style" on the east side of the Red Square.The very word "rows" goes back into the distant past. It had long been the custom in Russia to have a special row for trading in a certain article. The facades of the long buildings of the Upper Rows are a decorative display of elements of Russian ornament applied to the architecture of the late 19th and early 20th century. The large glass roofs were installed over the trading lines with the help of metal constructions. In 1921, on the initiative of Lenin, the country's largest department store was opened in the building of the Upper Trading Rows. In the 1930s, a number of governmental institutions worked here. In 1953, after major repairs, the State Department Store (or GUM as it is called for short) was reopened. The trading sections are arranged in three long lines. Now this is one of the biggest shopping malls in a central Moscow where a staff of about 8,000 serves the more than 300,000 customers visiting the store daily.
What to buy: daily 10-00am - 10pm
Take your time and enjoy shops selling wares from around the world. You can buy Levis, Estee Lauder and Christian Dior, but why not explore a little and find out what shops like Kristi, Steilmann's and Gallery Bosco di Ciliegi have to offer as well.
Look for Russia's famous confection, Krasny Oktyobr (Red October) Chocolates, at refreshment stands and Russian shops throughout GUM. Be prepared for a taste unlike American, French or English chocolates, as Red October chocolate is usually lighter in weight, darker in color and more bittersweet in taste than Western fare.
What to pay: remember, It will take most of a day to see GUM Department Store, which is actually a huge, multi-story mall encompassing over 150 stores and kiosks.
Arm yourself with a calculator and the latest exchange rates before you go shopping. Stores will quote you prices in rubles, so you should know how much you should be paying to avoid getting swindled.