A Moscow shopping guide
For numerous Westerners, Russia still carries the burden of Soviet time, when the country was in the grip of recurring shortages.
Of course, it is not the case anymore, and even less in Moscow where we find everything, at any time. All the big international brands have at least one shop in the Russian capital. Furthermore, to go shopping in Moscow is really entertaining.
The most known shopping mall is the GUM of Moscow, the luxury shopping temple.
The GUM, or “Store of State “, was built between 1890 and 1893. The building is divided in three parallel arches with galleries.
With the Perestroika, a big variety of western brands took up residence there. At the upper level we find numerous fast foods.
As wants the tradition in Russia, commercial paths were set up where each row is dedicated to a specific article.
The facades of the GUM mix the Russian decorative style with the architecture of the last XIXth beginning XXth. Wide glass roofs were installed over the trading paths with metal frame. In the 1930s, administrations had there even offices and, in 1953, after important renovations, the GUM was opened again. Today, it is one of the biggest shopping mall of Moscow which welcomes approximately 300000 customers daily.
It is a delight to window-shopping along international brand – Levis, Estee Lauder and Christian Dior among others.
Other less well known in France brands are to be discovered such as Kristi, Steilmann and Gallery Bosco di Ciliegi. We also find there the Russian chocolates factory Krasny Oktyobr (Red October), refreshment stands and Russian shops.
The Russian chocolate as the Red October chocolate is very different from American and European chocolates; it is lighter in weight, of darker colour and bitterer.
The visit of the GUM will take you the major part of the day. The GUM includes more than 150 shops and kiosks.
It is important to know the exchange rate Euro / rouble to go shopping serenely, without fear of being ripped off as the storekeepers can take advantage of your exchange rates ignorance to make you pay more or still feign a discount.
The GUM is located in the northeast part of the Red Square. The closest subway is Okhotny Ryad.
Opening from 10 am till 10 pm.
Address: 3 Krasnaya ploshchad.
Web site: http://www.gum.ru/
The TsUM is the second “marvel” of the Moscow traditional trade.
Numerous employees, few customers, and this for a simple reason: the prices are exorbitant. The TsUM (central store) opened its doors in 1857 under the name of “Muir and Mirrielees”, Andrew Muir and Archibald Mirrielees were two Scottish entrepreneurs in search of emerging markets. The store had a resounding success, although linked to the willingness of its rich clientele to spend big sums of money.
Opening: from Monday to Saturday: 10 hours-22 hours. Sunday: 11 hours-22 hours.
Brands: Prada, Armani Collezioni, Donna Karan, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, and others less known: 6267, Temperley, Vera Wang, David Szeta, Brook of the E-mail, Zac Pozen.
Address: 2 Petrovka Street.
Telephone: 7 ( 495 ) 933 73 00
Web site: http://www.tsum.ru
Beneath Manezhnaya Square, there is a big underground shopping mall, Okhotny Ryad, located near the GUM, between the Red Square and the Kremlin.
The clientele is generally more Moscow than tourist, however the service is excellent.
This shopping mall is a good choice to rest and go shopping after a day of visit of Moscow. Unlike the GUM and the TsUM, this shopping is more affordable and less frequented. The location of the shopping is original, and when you arrive on Manezhnaya Square you can be surprised not perceiving it next to the glass dome … Recently opened in a location witch necessitated to preserve at the same time historical monuments and the nearby underground subway, the construction was delicate. January and February are recommended to take advantage of liquidations.
Opening: from 11 am till 10 pm.
Address: Manezhnaya square.
Web site: http://ox-r.ru
The European Shopping mall of Moscow is a very pleasant place during the weekend, for shopping either to have good time. This shopping mall is gigantic and several hours are needed to make the tour. It is located next to Kievskaya subway and you do not need to go out of the subway to reach it. A real consumption palace, with its eight floors and its enormous paths of shops.
Opening: from Monday to Saturday: 10 hours-22 hours. Sunday: from 11 am till 10 pm.
Address: 2 Kievskogo Vokzala Square
Telephone: (+7) 495 921 34 44
Web site: http://www.europe-tc.ru
Some advice to buy fur
Fur comes back into fashion. When the Moscow winter makes a strong comeback, shops resupply in coats and accessories of any kinds. The big variety of fur articles and the market prices can confuse the beginners. To get the best deal, it is necessary to know how to choose your fur, know the places to make your purchases (the local markets are renowned for the fur), and learn how to maintain your new purchase.
Make sure that skins are well accompanied, flexible and glossy. The sewing must be solid, and hems have to fall straight ahead. The best way to try a coat is to feel it. The fur has to be uniform and guard hairs brilliant and soft. Feel the weight when you try it. The low-end furs can be very heavy and it’s better not to carry superfluous kilos on you. Buy a coat that reach down at least the mid-thighs to protect yourself effectively from the cold.
The Izmailovo Vernisazh is a very appropriate place for the purchase of souvenirs for a very good value for money.
This complex is the biggest exhibition park of the world, a graphic arts fair. This place, adored by both Muscovites and tourists, was built ten years ago by Russian architects. Artists and craftsmen from all Russia regions and all parts of the world present their work there. The Russian traditional crafts have their own foundry there.
We find traditional artworks, ceramic and Soviet “antiques” there. It is custom to negotiate the prices, then go ahead!
The exhibition is located next to Partisanskaya station and to Izmailovo tourist complex. Cafés, snack bars offers traditional Russian dishes at affordable prices.
Nearby, we also find the Izmailovo Kremlin, built in the same architectural style as the Izmailovo Tsar Residence.
It’s better to visit the exhibition in the morning when opened at 10 am. At noon, there is more people and fewer promotions and possibility to negotiate.
Opening hours: on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am till 4 pm.
From the city center, it takes about 25 minutes by subway +10 minutes from Partisanskaya station to the exhibition.
Address: 73 Izmailovskoe shausse.
Web site: http://www.moscow-vernisage.com
Bookshops: Dom Knigi and Moskva Knigi
The “Dom Knigi” Book House is the biggest bookshop of Moscow. It is located on Noviy Arbat Street 8. Subway: Arbatskaya.
Moskva Knigi is a very appreciated bookshop situated in the city center, Tverskaya Street 8. Subway: Tverskaya.
Eliseevsky: to be visited any price!
The “Eliseevsky” shop was opened in 1901 in an opulent building of the XVIIIth century. Since then, it is considered as the best shop.
In the XIXth century, Gregory Eliseev has secretly transformed a luxurious apartment in luxurious and grand store. Eliseev wanted to surprise the Moscow’s elite. Since the opening, the big grocer’s shop – conceived on several floors as a gastronomy palace, with its columns and crystal candlesticks – was a resounding success and crowds of Muscovites rush there. You find any sorts of breads, desserts, home-made chocolates, and ready-made dishes as the boyarsky salad, the slightly smoked salmon, the marinated mushrooms, the Moscow borscht, etc. All the foreign products have a place on the shelves: olive oil, oysters, chocolate truffles…
It is interesting to place oneself back in the context of the period. The department dedicated to tea and to coffee enthused Russians who discover drinks from all over the world.
A bakery, wine cellars and a famous fruits and vegetables section which includes a wide variety of exotic fruits and maintain the greed, the curiosity, even the amazement of the population days after days, years after years.
The Muscovites had ever seen nothing similar in term of elegance, luxury, variety and novelty of the proposed products. For every one, the place which will become Gastrom 1 after the 1917 revolution, represents a big laboratory in the discovery of new dishes, tastes and other oddities and magnificence from all over the world: ” the temple of the gluttony ” as the Russian writer Vladimir Gylyarovsky described it.
You will for sure have understood it: this place is a real institution, and even in time of crisis, it is as full as ever. The service is the other key point of Eliseevsky. A crowd of employees, often multilingual, helps the clientele to choose its wine and informs about products.
Eliseevsky knew how to, through times, command everyone’s respect, from the pre-revolutionary bourgeoisie to the Bolsheviks and the Stalinist Soviet citizens, including current nouveau riches. Eliseevsky, although slightly aged, always holds a special place in the heart of the Muscovites; in a way, it embodies the Russian soul, proud and enterprising.
Address: Tverskaya street 14. Subway: Tverskaya and Pushkinskaya
Telephone: 7 ( 495 ) 650-46-43
Web site: http://www.eliseevskiy.ru