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World’s oldest shopping malls

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These malls existed even before the term ‘shopping mall’ was first known to be used in the 1950s

New Delhi: Many people believe that malls are a modern concept, but if you dig deep in retail history, you will find that malls existed even before the first known use of the word ‘shopping mall’ in the 1950s as per Merriam Webster and Time Traveller.

Some people believe that being the first closed mall, Milan Italy’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II that was built between 1865 and 1877 was the world’s first mall. Others believe that Southdale Center, which opened in 1961 in Edina, Minnesota, United States of America was the first urban mall.

Here we list 3 malls that predate both of these by a significant number of years, arranged in chronological order:

Gostiny Dvor, St. Petersburg, Russia (1785)

Spread across 1,64,690 sq. ft. of trading area, Gostiny Dvor, situated at 35, Nevsky, Prospekt, was constructed between 1757 and 1785 according to a Russian travel website. Built by architect Jean Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe, Gostiny Dvor is believed to be the first building with gas lighting in the 1840s.

During World War 2, the building was severely damaged due to the bombing and was reconstructed in 1945. It housed 178 stores which were later interconnected after the walls separating them were broken down and is now known as Russia’s largest department source as per various reports.

On 3 November 1967, a subway station opened in the building.

Burlington Arcade, London, England (1819)

Built in 1819, the Burlington Arcade was opened as a place to shop jewellery and fancy items sold across 51 independent boutiques. Some of the luxury articles sold in the arcade were jewellery, hats and gloves. Samuel Ware was commissioned by Lord George Cavendish to build Burlington Arcade which is a 196 yards long shopping place in London, United Kingdom.

Today, the shopping arcade experiences 4 million footfall yearly.

Arcade Providence, Rhode Island, USA (1828)

Constructed in 1828 in downtown Arcade Providence, Rhode Island is designed by Russel Warren and James Bucklin. The building was constructed in 1827 and completed in 1828 under original owners Cyrus Butler and Arcade Corporation.

The Westminster Arcade is the only standing arcade among the arcades that were built in the 19th century. It was declared as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The Arcade had 48 boutiques that were turned into micro 48 micro apartments in the year 2016 ranging from 225 to 275 square feet and priced from $850 to $1,500 a month.

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