Contrary to popular belief, Moscow is not a particularly cheap city - it's on a par with many western European cities in terms of cost of living.
Although it's unlikely you would want to be in Moscow for shopping alone, no doubt a few souvenirs & presents for family or friends back home never go amiss. Rather than going to GUM or heading down to the Arbat and paying inflated prices for souvenirs, take a 20 minute ride on the metro (blue line) to Izmailovsky Park for the week-end market.
Basically a huge flea market, this is the place to go for souvenirs & gifts. Turn left out of the metro & follow the throngs - the market is about a 10 minute walk from the station - don't confuse the stalls with babooshkas selling undies, socks & plastic shoes with the market - it's further along - carry on walking! When you see the mock wooden fortress - you'll know you're there.
Although there is the inevitable kitsch tourist junk, there are hundreds of stalls selling everything from matryoshka dolls (with variations on the original doll), Palekh boxes, samovars, amber jewellery, ex-Soviet memorabilia - army & navy jackets, caps & medals - coins, stamps, postcards, flags, banners, t-shirts, paintings, carpets... the list goes on! There are also some real gems like pre war cameras & binoculars.
Once you tire of haggling with the - in some cases - over-zealous stall holders, you can retreat to one of the food stalls to sample barbequed shashliki (kebabs) & recover with a bottle of Baltika (beer please - peeva pazhal'sta) or a glass of Russian cognac to warm you up!
While you're in the vacinity, Izmailovo Royal Estate where the park gets it's name from, is a 10 minute walk east of the market. This is where Peter the Great spent much of his childhood & it's a relaxing stroll after the mania of the market!
What to buy: Depending on what you're looking for & who you're buying for ... it's always better to buy something traditional like small hand painted Palekh boxes, matryoshka dolls, music boxes, or some of the other wooden toys or items.
What to pay: Again it depends on what you're buying! Be prepared to haggle with stall holders as they start off at pretty inflated prices. Don't buy the first thing as there are bound to be other places along the way that have things you may prefer or can get for less.
This weekend market is held at Izmaylovsky Park. Once you emerge from the metro Izmaylovsky Park, there is a trail of people heading determinedly in a direction, follow them.
Entrance to the market is a small fee.
Inside, there are many stalls selling Russia's favourite and most popular souvenir - the Matryoshka dolls (a doll inside a doll inside a doll inside a...). There are all sorts of styles available, from the simple wooden, rawly-painted ones (which I prefer) to the very intricately-decorated gaudily colourful ones.
There are lacquered wares, trays, napkin holders, jewellery boxes and chopping boards. There are Soviet-era posters, magnets, post-cards. There are handmade embroidered clothes. There are artistic jewellery. There are second-hand books. There are antique coins and other collectibles.
While rather commercial, it is a great huge market-place to shop for your souvenirs as really, almost everything typical of Russia, is sold here.
There are several big bookshops along Tverskaya ul, Novy Arbat ul and perhaps in the shopping malls Okhotny Ryad and GUM (not sure about the shopping malls, actually).
Side-note : There is no 'H' sound in Russian. So, HARRY POTTER is pronounced as GARRY POTTER.
There are a smattering of English books available from these stores, from a handful of popular authors, like PG Wodehouse, Sue Townsend. I must say, the selection is actually NOT TOO BAD. You can come across some gems if you are alert and lucky. The number of English classics are extensive. If you are the Dickens-sort, you are blessed.
As for those famous Russian novels translated into English, better to go to ANGLIA BRITISH BOOKSHOP. It is located on a side street up another side street off Novy Arbat ul.
To be honest, it was a miracle I found it.
Near the start of Novy Arbat ul, where Vozdvizhenka ul ends and several roads branch out at right angle to Novy Arbat, there is a building with an arch-way facing Novy Arbat ul itself, that appears to be leading into the backyard or car-park of the building.
Enter it and you will emerge into a quiet road named Merzlakovsky pr. To the left, an even quieter road branches off at an angle, Khlebny pr and you should be able to find the bookshop by paying A LOT OF ATTENTION to the buildings to your right.
The other prominent shopping street is Novy Arbat ulitsa. There is also some interesting architechure on this road or on the road leading to it, Vozdvizhenka ulitsa.
Watch out for House of Friendship with Peoples of Foreign Countries, located on Vozdvizhenka ul, coming from Borovitskaya metro station, with its interesting sea-shell motifs.
Also, the pretty onion-domed Church of St Simeon the Stylite is seen along this road, nestled below giant grey buildings.
There is a huge stationary shop on this street, found after the church, if you need some note-books or whatever.
One of the more prominent shopping street of Moscow, full of activities. This street is a good starting point to browse Moscow. There are many international brand boutiques here, if you have come to Russia to shop. There are some museums and statues lined along this busy road too.
The oldest MacDonald in Moscow is located along this road, haha. But for more practical food, grocery stores, street kiosks and road-side food stalls selling hot-dogs, baked potatoes, etc... are found here.
The ones listed above are big general book shops – among my favourite shops in Moscow! And they all have sections devoted to the literature in English, both adapted (in smaller numbers) and unabridged. These shops are your ideal choice if you are after a mainstream book: Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, or Eyewitness travel guides, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Sex and the City, and the like. There are also large sections dedicated to British-published study books and several titles of Russian literature translated into English.
Biblio-Globus: it is just outside the Lubianka subway station.
Moskva: go to the Okhotny Riad station, and walk along the Tverskaja street from the Kremlin.
Moskovskij Dom Knigi: Arbatskaja station, and Novy Arbat street
Here I must confess, to my great shame, that I can not remember the shop’s name precisely as it was. However, I still remember what it is like, and, if you ask people in the region for an English bookshop, they will direct you correctly. The range of books is similar to the one ‘Anglia’ offers, but this shop has less emphasis on study books, and more on literature & guide books. There’s also an excellent selection of pens and similar things, though a bit on an expensive side – not just your average plastic pens. Payment with charge cards is possible. The selection of books normally differs from the one ‘Anglia’ has, so if you do not find something you are looking for in one shop, just try another!
Done with your books in English that you have taken and want something new to read? Now you can get it quite easily even in Moscow. ýAngliaý is the first such bookshop I learned of, so it seemed correct to me to put it first here as well. While the shop is not large, it has good selection of travel writing, illustrated albums, study books and most common literature, all in English: unabridged and as was in original text. You can pay with your charge cards.
A really huge indoormarket where you can buy musicdiscs, electronical and some other things.
What to buy: Here you could buy musicdiscs. You can find many kinds of music and the price is very good compared to prices in most european countries. (Because the discs are pirate copies).
What to pay: 100 rubles for one compactdisc.
The Shopping Center “Okhotny Ryad” is situated in the very heart of Moscow in immediate proximity to Red Square, Alexandrovsky Sad, Teatralnaya Square and Tverskaya Street. One can enter the Shopping Center from the direction of “Moskva” Hotel, from Alexandrovsky Sad, from the direction of Manezh as well as straight from the underground station “Okhotny Ryad” or through a passage from an underground car park. The Shopping Center is open daily including weekends and holidays from 11.00 a.m. till 10.00 p.m. Three underground levels of the Center contain more than 100 shops, restaurants, cafes, fast food restaurants, bank branches and exchange offices, travel agencies, cash dispensers and pay phones. Unique interiors of the Shopping Center as well as its closeness to Red Square and Alexandrovsky Sad attract huge crowds of tourists and Muscovites.
Picture was taken from http://aradan.newmail.ru/Photo/Sbornic/Ohotniy%20Ryad/
What to buy: everything
The GUM building (formerly the Upper Gallery, built 1890-1893 and designed by A. Pomerantsev) forms the northeastern border of Red Square, the main square of Moscow and Russia. The design of the building's front side, decorated with cut rustic, is similar to that of the Kremlin and the Historical Museum. The layout of the building consists of three longitudinal three-story arcades with deep basements. The glass-roof designed by engineer V. Shukhov makes the building unique. The roof, whose diameter is 14 meters, looks light, but it is a firm construction made of over 50,000 pods (about 819 tons) of metal. Up to 1,000 private shops were located in this huge building.
GUM is well-known to every Russian. The 100-year history of this Red Square mall made it popular in Russia and abroad. Russia's best people who built GUM made it famous, since the department store remains an architectural masterpiece and a harmonic part of the Red Square architectural ensemble.
Now GUM is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also a wide network of shops in Moscow and in other regions. The high quality of goods purchased in GUM is guaranteed.
Can not resist it too!
I'm satisfied :-)
What to buy: lots of nice qualified stuff :-)
Bores and 'Nags' - this is not for you :P
As well as 'Jennyfer' :P
I'M LLLLOVING IT!
Good. Cheap. Cute. Multi-couloured.
What to buy: Lots of stylish, sunny girls' stuff :-)
What to pay: rubles :-) you can use your credit as well
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