GUM Christmas Fair at Red Square

GUM Christmas Fair at Red Square
There are several dozen Christmas fairs and markets taking place throughout Moscow during the holiday season, but the biggest and most popular one is probably the GUM Christmas Fair at Red Square. Held in the very heart of the Russian capital, it opens in late November and lasts until the end of February, attracting hundreds of thousands of people every year.

GUM (short for “Main Universal Store”) is the main department store in many cities of the former Soviet Union. The most famous GUM is a large shopping mall in downtown Moscow facing Red Square. Every winter, it hosts a large Christmas fair featuring several dozen stalls selling various goods, fairground rides, performances, special events and activities for children, and more.

A Christmas market in any European city or town is the best place to sample local delicacies, and Moscow is not an exception. At the GUM Christmas Fair, you can find kalachi (a circular sweet bread originating in Eastern Europe), belyashi (fried dough pastry filled with meat), pelmeni (meat- or fish-filled dumplings) and chebureki (deep-fried turnovers with meat filling).

If you’re not a fan of Russian cuisine, you can treat yourself to other foods such as donuts, Chinese noodles, baked potatoes, doner kebab, sausages, pancakes, chestnuts, hot corns, and more. And of course there are hot drinks to keep you warm, from tea and coffee, to mulled wine, hot cider and sbiten (a Russian traditional drink with honey and spices).

In addition to various foods and drinks, vendors at the GUM Christmas Fair offer plenty of traditional souvenirs, including kokoshniks (traditional Russian women’s headdresses), wooden jewelry boxes, birch bark ware, Gzhel ceramics, samovars, handmade toys, matryoshkas, nutcrackers, candles, valenki, shawls, ushankas, Khokhloma painted wooden ware, and more.

The fair also features several merry-go-rounds, a Christmas tree market, a photo booth, and a stage for live performances. The festivities are presided over by Ded Moroz (the East Slavic counterpart of Santa Claus and Father Christmas) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden).

GUM Christmas Market at Red Square




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