For many people, Russia is synonymous with Russian dolls (matryoshki), fur hats (shuba), samovars and Soviet memorabilia. So it’s not surprising that these are the most sought after souvenirs on visits to Mother Russia. And luckily Intrepid’s Tania George knows just the place to shop in Moscow…
“Located close to metro stop Partizanskaya and the Izmailovo Hotel complex, the Izmailovo markets seem to go on forever. Open daily from 10am till 6pm, you can buy literally everything here. Locals shop for clothes, shoes, household utensils, tools, fabric, illegally copied CD’s and DVD’s, etc. If you get hungry, you can enjoy cheap local snacks and drinks at one of the many food stalls.
All this is great, but for the souvenir shoppers among us, there is an even more interesting part… Vernisazh.
This section is also open every day, although there is a lot more on offer on weekends. Vernisazh is like a separate market inside the huge Izmailovo market. You need to pay a small sum of 10 rubles to enter, but that’s definitely worth it.
Once inside, you’ll discover hundreds of stalls with the famous matryoshki dolls (you can even find life-size ones!), tons of Soviet memorabilia (honestly, everything from a little Lenin pin and propaganda posters to Red Army World War II helmets), samovars (tea urns) made out of silver or copper, toys, traditional woodwork and ceramics, fur hats and coats, musical instruments, Central Asian carpets and jewellery. Most items have a history, so show your interest and the stallholders will tell you the story behind every matryoshka-design, and by the time you leave you’ll be an expert in Russian fairy tales!”
* photo by Carinda Harris, Intrepid Photography Competition.