Vilnius Trade House Grand Magasins

Zalkind Trading House on Town Hall Square, at the intersection of Vokiečių Street and Didžioji Street. Postcard. Publisher J. Ch., W., circa 1915

A five-storey shopping centre in Vilnius?! In the 19th century, the poshest Vilnius Trade House in the entire north-western territory of the Russian Empire looked like it was from the future. Imagine, you are again in the 19th century! In the shop owned by Leiba and Rivka (Rebeka) Zalkind, you could find fabrics, furniture, carpets, clothes and fur coats, French gloves and English velvet, clothes inspired by the latest fashions of Warsaw, Vienna or Paris, confectionary and … you could order the latest technology – an automobile. Don’t worry, you wouldn’t get tired while shopping in the five-storey centre because you were able to use one of the first elevators in the city. If you were short of cash, you could go to a branch of the Russian Azov-Don Bank.  You could also record a moment of your life at the Moris Grossman’s photography pavilion. You would be assisted by 150 sales representatives to find exactly what you needed in the shopping centre.

Today, this building also contains shops selling luxurious goods and memories of the old times have been recorded in an album of lithographic images with advertisements of the shop released by its owner, Leiba Zalkind. It was probably the only shop that was advertised not only in newspapers; for this reason, the French name Grand Magasins was used to refer to it.


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