Nowadays, shopping malls are seldom considered masterpieces. But that was completely different at the turn of the 19th century—a time when the department store was a pinnacle of high style and technology.

The following images will show you the dawn of consumer society, when malls were more like palaces and temples than mere stores.

The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a shopping arcade in Brussels, circa 1890.

Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Circa 1900: A shopping arcade in Birmingham.

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Image: London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images


Le Bon Marché, Paris, France, c1900.

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Image: Albert Chevojon/Wikimedia Commons


B. Altman Department Store, New York City, c1906

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Image: CUNY GC Library


The provision department of Harrods store, circa 1910.

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Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Párizsi Nagyáruház (Paris Department Store), Budapest, Hungary, c1911.

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Image: lotzterem.hu


Galeries Lafayette, Paris, France, circa 1912.

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Image: Archives Galeries Lafayette


The French Bazaar, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1913.

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Image: Memory of the Netherlands

Image: Memory of the Netherlands


The State Department Store (GUM), Moscow, Soviet Union, c1920.

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Image: gum.ru


1925: The meat and poultry department of Harrod's department store in London.

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Image: Hawkins/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images


Circa 1925: Shoppers in London's Burlington Arcade.

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Galleria Umberto, Naples, one of Europe's most famous shopping arcades, circa 1930.

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The Selfridges flagship store on London's Oxford Street, 1934.

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Image: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Marshall Field & Company, Chicago, Illinois.

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Image: Ebay