From the elusive “section 200” to Chekhov’s favorite store, and an incredible house-turned-palace, with a visit to these legendary Moscow shopping centers, you can experience the city’s rich history and chic style. 

GUM 

Address: Moscow, Red Square, 3 Tel. +7 (495) 788-4343

Opening hours: daily from 10am to 10pm

Instagram

Before the 1917 revolution, this was where the Sapozhnikov Brothers traded brocade and silk. Brocard perfume was supplied to the Imperial Palace, and Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky even bought their Patek Philippe watches here. And then during the NEP era, the words for the GUM poster series were written by Vladimir Mayakovsky himself. It was also here that the first fashion shows of the USSR were held; and in 1957, Dior visited.

There was also a special “section 200” whose existence was a state secret. They exclusively served the party elite and their families, along with celebrities ranging from famous ballerinas to renowned astronauts.

This beautiful Neo-Russian style building, also known as The State Universal Store, is found in Red Square where it has stood for over a century. It is one of the main symbols of Moscow, along with the Kremlin and Bolshoi Theatre.

Today, these luxurious interiors are always noisy and festive, and you will find many tourists taking pictures near the famous GUM fountain; dining in Soviet-style restaurants; or shopping at Louis Vuitton, Max Mara and Tiffany boutiques. Fashion shows, photography and art exhibitions, and seasonal festivals are also often held here.

You can also go to the legendary Kinozalvisit Gastronome №1 or try the famous GUM ice cream, which has been produced here since the 1960s. Needing a refresh? Spruce up with a shower in the Historical Toilet Rooms

TSUM 

Address: Moscow, Petrovka street, 2 Tel. +7 (800) 500-80-00 , +7 (495) 933-73-00

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: from 10am to 10pm
Sunday: from 11am to 10pm

Instagram

This magnificent seven-story English Gothic-style building is another iconic store in Moscow. It is located next to the Bolshoi Theatre and the Hotel Metropol. Complete with Art Nouveau elements and dating back more than a century, it is a true symbol of luxury, fashion and wealth.

There are so many things here — personal shopping with a stylist, the individual tailoring of costumes, beauty procedures, as well as taxis for clients.

Before the 1917 revolution, the shop was called “Muir and Meriliz”, after the two Scottish entrepreneurs who founded it. It was Anton Chekhov’s favorite store. In fact, he bought almost all of his stuff here, from dishes to guns; and even named his puppies Muir and Meriliz. 

The store was innovative—they pioneered fixed prices, electric lifts for shoppers (which became a sensation), and offered catalogs with free delivery throughout Russia.

There was also a special “dark” room without windows. It was lit by gas lamps, and Moscow fashionistas could imagine how their selected outfits would look in the evening in the Alexander Garden or on Tverskoy Boulevard.

Today in TSUM you will find collections of designers such as Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Stella McCartney, etc. There is also Globus Gourmet — a hybrid restaurant and farmer’s market known for its variety of delicacies, rare wines and caviar.

But TSUM is not just about fashion. It also supports non-commercial contemporary art projects, holds exhibitions and participates in various cultural events.

 

Petrovsky Passage

Address: Moscow, Petrovka Street,10 Tel. +7 (495) 621 3572

Opening hours: daily from 10am to 10pm

Unlike GUM and TSUM, you won’t find a lot of tourists here. It’s never crowded, and feels slightly surreal, like you’ve traveled to the past. Once you step through the glass doors, everything is majestic and light. From the ancient facades, beige marble flooring and palm trees all around, Petrovsky Passage is another world entirely.

The shopping center was constructed in 1906 thanks to Vera Firsanova, a wealthy Moscow entrepreneur and patron of the arts. The facades of the three-story building are decorated in the spirit of Art Nouveau with bas-reliefs depicting the caduceus (the rod of Mercury, the patron god of trade), lion heads, ribbons and plants in addition to a bas-relief from the Soviet era known as “Worker.” The Petrovsky Passage also serves as a thoroughfare between the Petrovka and Neglinnaya streets. 

Originally, Petrovsky Passage sold beautiful ladies’ dresses, high-quality fabrics, corsets and umbrellas, as well as photographic and film goods made in France. And as they continued to grow, they opened a restaurant and a café.

Over a century later, it doubles as an architectural monument and one of Moscow’s premier shopping centers with brands such as Max Mara, Kenzo, Ermanno Scervino and many more. In addition to designer and department store shopping, you can also enjoy a cup of coffee in Bosco Café, visit Articoli Salon & Spa, and even pay a visit to the dentist in the Bosco Clinica.

Eliseevsky Shop

Address: Moscow, Tverskaya street, 14 Tel. +7 (495) 650-07-60

Permanently closed as of April 11

120 years ago, Muscovites gasped and froze in silence when the mysterious 3 years standing curtain of scaffolding finally fell from this building. They saw a magnificent facade, huge shining windows and incredible decoration within. Columns with curled capitals, huge mirrors with Art Nouveau frames, gilded walls and graceful arches make the public tremble proving that Eliseevsky Shop was just as fit for a ball as the Imperial Palace. 

The wonderful variety of products, illuminated by the shine of crystal and golden reflections, was no less amazing. From exotic fruits and spices to rich selections of tea and coffee; and from French oysters to Russian hams and salted fish, there was an infinite variety of gourmet goods to explore. 

Inclined to epatage, the wealthy merchant Grigory Eliseev later decided to impress Moscow with unprecedented luxury by adding an even larger variety of colonial and gastronomic goods to Eliseevsky Shop, and he succeeded.

Whether you visit for the museum-like atmosphere or gourmet shopping you’re sure to get a glimpse into old Moscow. Thanks to a reconstruction to preserve Eliseev’s original style, Eliseevsky Shop remains the same all these years later — a luxury grocery store famous for its opulent decor, historic significance and variety of international and regional goods. 

The Perlov Tea House 

Address: Moscow, Myasnitskaya st., 19 Tel. +7 (999) 897-06-31

Daily from 10am to 8pm

Instagram

The Perlov Tea House is known not only to every Muscovite, but also to many travelers. It catches your eye due to its unusual appearance – a real Chinese pagoda in the center of Moscow!

Complete with stucco images of dragons and snakes, traditional tiles, floral medallions, and of course, the iconic two tiered turret, it looks like something out of a Chinese fairytale. But how did such a miracle appear in the center of Moscow?

In 1896, the Chinese ambassador was expected to arrive for the coronation of Nicholas II. It was then that Vasily Perlov, a wealthy merchant known as the Russian King of Tea, decided to remodel his home in traditional Chinese style in hopes to grab the ambassador’s attention and secure a contract for tea supply. 

And although the ambassador then went with another merchant, Perlov did not lose! The house has since become a brilliant advertisement for tea and has cemented its place in history forever.

Inside you’ll find a delicious variety of aromas thanks to over 800 types of tea and 300 types of coffee. Not only that, but there are also items belonging to Perlov’s personal art collection such as vases and sculptures from China. Try some of the incredible flavors yourself with one of their regular tea or coffee tastings. 

ornate details of Perlov Tea House in Moscow

The Central Children’s Store  

Address: Moscow, Teatralny pr, 5/1 Tel. +7 (495) 777 8077

Opening hours: daily from 10am to 10pm

Instagram

For every Soviet child, a trip to Detsky Mir (its previous name, which translates to “Children’s World”) was a real event! Home to everything from classic toys to school uniforms and stationary, it was a one stop shop for children’s products. Not only that, but Detsky Mir was also known for its notebook and pencil machines, soda drinks and other fun activities.

Built more than 60 years ago for the International Youth and Student Festival, Detsky Mir has become a beloved symbol of Soviet childhood. Decades later, it still draws families from all over looking to indulge in a bit of nostalgia in the form of a Detsky Mir soda or ice cream. 

Today, in addition to several toy and children’s goods stores, you can see the clock mechanism of Raketa. Holding the title for one of the five largest and most accurate mechanical clocks in the world, along with Big Ben, the Kremlin’s chimes, and the likes, they say that Raketa will work for at least a hundred years.

Climb to the seventh floor and you’ll find an observation terrace overlooking the historic center of Moscow with views of the Kremlin, Lubyanka Square, the Polytechnic Museum and more. For an unforgettable view, be sure to wait until sunset. 

Tilt your head up at the main atrium and you’ll see a fabulous dome decorated with stained-glass windows immortalizing iconic Russian folk tales such as “The Frog Princess,” “Vasilisa the Beautiful,” and “Sister Alyonushka and Brother Ivanushka.”

Other highlights include the Museum of Childhood where you can see and learn about Soviet era toys and the Gastrogallery home to 14 different cuisines around the world.

Russian folk tales in stained glass

Share this: