Travel

Souvenir Shopping Moscow-Style

Are you someone like me who loves to bring home knick-knacks from my travels, as personal souvenir and as gifts to family and friends? If so, then I know that a lot of research is being made on what to bring home and where to purchase.

And what is the guaranteed best place to find one? Markets, of course! They are local and cheaper than what are displayed in the malls.

If Bangkok has Chatuchak market, Marrakech has D’jema El Fna, Moscow has Izmailovo Vernissage. Though in a much smaller scale and less touristy (at least when we went), Izmailovo didn’t disappoint.

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The promise of being a cheapskate shopper’s haven got us putting a star on this in our itinerary. Surely, it is! Shopper’s heaven…

The market is filled with cute and interesting things to buy. One can spend a long time thinking about what matryoshka doll design to bring home, or which mini-Russian landmark will be placed in your cupboard.

Will it be bladed weapons or USSR memorabilia?

There’s all sorts of other stuff, apart from the usual key chains, fridge magnets that are favorite souvenir items.

One thing I made sure to buy are khokhloma dining ware. Khokhloma  is a Russian wood painting handicraft style usually colored red and gold colors in black background. You may even get to meet the artisan who makes the handicrafts and souvenirs themselves.

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And if you ever get tired of all the shopping and souvenir-hunting? Fret not. There are outdoor dining places right near the exit. You won’t miss the smoke and the smell of deliciously grilled meat from that corner of the market. Indeed, they are delicious and tender. There’s all sorts of meat – pork, beef, chicken and lamb. Various side dishes to choose from and the bread… Ooh, the bread. They remind me of Afghan bread, and they were also so nice. Just a warning to rice eaters like me, there’s none 🙂

And if a filling meal does not fancy you, you may chance upon the rolling vendor with their lusciously ripe fruits and vegetables. I kid you not when shoppers and vendors alike flock to them as they pass by. Good to munch on them as the shopping continues.

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Going back to shopping, I strongly advise you to do your shopping here and bring as much cash as your budget for souvenir-shopping allows. If you were like us who thought wouldn’t be spending as much as we did (and it was not too much, but we didn’t think we’d be buying more than we thought), there are vendors who agree to change your $ to rubles at par with the going rate in town. And like in any other markets, haggle, haggle, haggle.

Planning a trip to Moscow? Flag this in and enjoy shopping!

 

How to get There

We took the cab, at a very reasonable rate.

However, you can opt to take the metro and alight at Partizanskaya station. It is about 300 meters walk.

When is it Open

On weekends and Wednesdays, they say, but better go on weekends or Saturdays when more vendors and artisans participate

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