Moscow has the vibe of a cosmopolitan city. It’s the seat of the Russian government and it’s lively with bureaucrats and business people. Muscovites are chic and stylish, easily setting themselves apart from the frumpy tourists that roam the streets. Sidewalks are full of elegant men in designer suits and women in impossibly high heels and beautiful wool coats. Chauffeur-driven luxury cars sit double-parked waiting for their passengers, sometimes accompanied by security details in black SUVs. The city has an air of purpose and growth.
All this activity happens surrounded by iconic locations: Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin; sites that have witnessed the history of Russia from Tsarist times, through revolutions, communism and now the Russian Federation.
Famous Red Square is bordered by the State Historical Museum on the north side, the Kremlin walls to the west, St. Basil’s Cathedral to the south and a shopping mall on the east side. The mall is called GUM which stands for Main Universal Store in Russian. The building opened as a department store in 1893. It was turned into offices between 1928 and 1953, but it’s a busy high-end mall now with brands like Coach, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Cartier, Rolex, and Versace.
You’ve got to wonder what Lenin thinks of this, lying in his Mausoleum just across the square.