Where to go?, Moscow
A huge weekend market, crammed with every possible stall and dealer selling anything and everything you could think of taking home from Moscow as as souvenir of your time here. The variety and choice is fantastic.
What to buy: Whatever you are looking for, you will probably find it here. Matrioshkas (of course) in every shape and size, amber jewellery, wooden toys, Soviet memorabilia, gossamer fine hand-knitted scarves and shawls, fur hats, beautiful linens, original arts and crafts, carpets from the Caucasus and Central Asia -there truly is something for everyone.
Prices are good and the quality is also.
What to pay: There is a small admission charge to the market, after that it's up to you what you spend.
Luxury food halls such as KDW and Fortnum and Mason come as no surprise in Berlin and London. I don't know that you would really expect to find a similar place in Moscow -but there it is - the Yeliseyev Grocery Store. Crystal chandeliers, marble columns, ornate mouldings and mirrors, beautiful food, beautifully displayed. This has been the place for Moscow's gourmets to shop ever since it opened its doors in 1902 as "Yeliseyev's Emporium and Wine Cellar of Russian and Imported Wines". After the Revolution it was renamed, somewhat more prosaically, "Grocery Store No 1", but even then it was always referred to as Yeliseyev's, although it was only privileged members of the Party who could shop there. It's still the most beautiful shop in Moscow but now it's open to everyone.
The Izmaylovo Market is probably Moscow's biggest and most famous market area. You get almost everything here, from all kindss of souvenirs and handicrafts to antiques and carpets.
Prices are said to be cheaper than in the city centre. Of course bargaining is expected. Apart from that Izmaylovo Market has many food stalls with local fast food.
The market is open daily from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and weekends seem to be the best time for a visit.
The Izmaylovo Market is located northeast of the city centre (metro: Izmaylovskiy Park, blue line). When coming out of the metro station you see five blocks of the Izmaylovo hotel complex which was built for the 1980 Olympics. Just follow the crowds to the market.
The GUM "State Department Store" was built between 1890 and 1893. The building consists of three parallel 3-storey arcades with galleries.
It mainly houses a wide variety of foreign stores and designer boutiques of western brand names. Afdter the perestroika most of the brands were keen on this prestigious address for their flagship store in Russia.
On the top level you find many fast food restaurants. For more details please read my "Restaurant Tips".
The GUM is located on the north eastern side of Red Square (Metro: Okhotny Ryad).
Address: GUM, Krasnaya ploshchad 3, Moscow
The GUM ist probably the best know department shop in Moscow. It stretches along Red Square opposite the Kremlin. It was built in the 19th century and houses over 1000 shops.
When I first visited Moscow in 89, nearly all the shops had the same items on sale, nowadays you'll find all shops you will encounter everywhere else on the planet.
What to buy: Anything
I found it quite interesting to browse through Russian bookshops. Besides a wide variety of books, they often also have a selection of CDs, DVDs, calendars and small souvenirs.
The largest bookshop in Moscow is probably "Dom Knigi" (House of Books). It is located at the street ul. Noviy Arbat 8 (Metro: Arbatskaya).
Another well known and centrally located bookshop is "Moskva Knigi" (Moscow Books) at the street ul. Tverskaya 8 (Metro: Tverskaya).
Dom Knigi - Website: http://www.mdk-arbat.ru/
Moscow Books - Website: http://www.moscowbooks.ru/
TSUM is one of the largest and most successful department stores in Russia. Central Universal Store (TSUM) is located in the very center of Moscow ? next to the Red Square and the Bolshoi Theater. Opening hours are 9 am till 10 pm Monday to Saturday, 9 am till 9 pm on Sunday.
TSUM?s history started in 1885, when two entrepreneurs from Scotland, Archibald Mirielees and Andrew Muir opened the first department store in Russia. By the beginning of the XIX century it united over 80 departments and was one of the best in Europe together with Harrods in London. In 1922 the Soviet authorities made it the central store of the nation and from that time the store bears the name known to several generations of Muscovites ? TSUM. Nowadays it is equipped with modern lifts, state of art escalators and is decorated in accordance with the highest international standards.
In 1992 TSUM changed its legal status and became an open joint stock venture. In 1995 it was decided to reconstruct the TSUM building in order to expand the sales grounds and optimize the structure of departments. The reconstruction cost TSUM about 22 million dollars.
What to buy: clothes, shoes, accessories
What to pay: it's not the cheapest shop in Moscow :) you can be shocked of some prices
even if you are not going to buy anythig - visit this undergraund - just take a look at the map of the world on the calotte
What to buy: you can buy here everything, if you have some money shure :) that place is not cheap at all...
What to pay: Depend
Ramstore chain is distinguished by a variety of formats - trade centers, hyper- and supermarkets, and convenient stores. According to the trade format, the assortment of a store may include from 10 to 35 thousand articles of goods.
What to pay: depend
open: 8:00 - 24:00
The Yeliseev food store is ressembling a palace more than a shop where you buy those ordinary things like bread & butter.
It's a in a beautifully restored house with chandeliers, marble columns and large mirrors.
What to buy: grocery products
What to pay: slightly more than normal
Fur is making a comeback across the fashion capitals – no self-respecting fashionista would be caught this season without a fur coat, vest, stole or – at the very least – some fur trim on that fabulous new handbag. As winter arrives in Moscow, so too does the chance for Tverskaya boutiques and market salesmen alike to get their fur coats and accessories back on the rack.
If you’re new to the infamous Russian winter, or if you’ve just never gotten around to buying a fur, the variety of coats, outlets and price ranges can be daunting.
Which type of fur should you buy? Should you venture out to one of the local markets or stick to boutiques? What tender loving care do you need to bestow on your precious new purchase? We set out on a shopping spree to find answers to these questions and more.
What to buy: Make sure that the pelts are well-matched, supple and even in sheen.
Good workmanship is essential. Check that the seams are sewn tightly and evenly and that the hems fall straight.
The easiest way to check a coat’s quality is to feel it. The underfur should be uniformly textured and guard hairs should be soft and lustrous.
Check its weight when you’re trying it on. Particularly at the lower price range, some furs can be very heavy, and you don’t want to be lugging an extra 2 kilograms or more around.
Buy a coat that falls to mid-thigh at the very least – you’ll need it in this weather.
What to pay: depend...
If you want to buy the famous Russian dolls (matrioshkas), or any other typical souvenir from Moscow, go to the Izmailovsky Park fairs, twice a week (I don't remember the exact days but one of them is Saturday). Just take the subway's dark blue line to the Izmailovsky Park station. Once there, you just have to follow the people, as most head to the fair. There are hundreds of stands and stalls there selling all kind of mementos, especially matrioshkas. They're cheaper there, but you shall always try to bargain. One trick is to observe a matrioshka you like, ask the price, and prepare to leave after the vendor acknowledges it. As they see you go, they are likely to promptly lower the price. I found some very nice vendors there. One of them offered me a big poster after I appraised his matrioshkas, even though I didn't buy any!
What to buy: Matrioshkas
What to pay: Prices vary. Big and lavishly decorated matrioshkas are naturally more expensive. Browse around as many stalls as you can to get familiar with the prices before buying. Then purchase them where you found the best quality/price ratio.
In 1890-93, the Upper Trading Rows (now GUM) were erected in the so-called "Russian style" on the east side of the Red Square.The very word "rows" goes back into the distant past. It had long been the custom in Russia to have a special row for trading in a certain article. The facades of the long buildings of the Upper Rows are a decorative display of elements of Russian ornament applied to the architecture of the late 19th and early 20th century. The large glass roofs were installed over the trading lines with the help of metal constructions. In 1921, on the initiative of Lenin, the country's largest department store was opened in the building of the Upper Trading Rows. In the 1930s, a number of governmental institutions worked here. In 1953, after major repairs, the State Department Store (or GUM as it is called for short) was reopened. The trading sections are arranged in three long lines. Now this is one of the biggest shopping malls in a central Moscow where a staff of about 8,000 serves the more than 300,000 customers visiting the store daily.
What to buy: daily 10-00am - 10pm
Take your time and enjoy shops selling wares from around the world. You can buy Levis, Estee Lauder and Christian Dior, but why not explore a little and find out what shops like Kristi, Steilmann's and Gallery Bosco di Ciliegi have to offer as well.
Look for Russia's famous confection, Krasny Oktyobr (Red October) Chocolates, at refreshment stands and Russian shops throughout GUM. Be prepared for a taste unlike American, French or English chocolates, as Red October chocolate is usually lighter in weight, darker in color and more bittersweet in taste than Western fare.
What to pay: remember, It will take most of a day to see GUM Department Store, which is actually a huge, multi-story mall encompassing over 150 stores and kiosks.
Arm yourself with a calculator and the latest exchange rates before you go shopping. Stores will quote you prices in rubles, so you should know how much you should be paying to avoid getting swindled.
Pyotr Yeliseev and his sons opened their delicatessen branches in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. This shop was originally a residential building. It was purchased, then refinished in Style-Moderne design, with wooden counters, marble pillars and ornate chandeliers.
What to buy: Opened as a delicatessen in 1898 (it introduced Russians to exotic fruits and treats), it still stocks Russian and imported delicacies.
I bought a couple of sets of tiny chocolate bars, with Russian wrappers ~ perfect to give at work when I returned home.
What to pay: Various. . .
GUM (pronounced "goom") stands for Gosudarstvennyy universalnyy magazin. . .it's conveniently located on the border of Red Square, so you're bound to pass by it at least once or twice.
Its exterior and interior design mean that it merits some exploration, whether you're in the mood to shop or not.
Erected in 1889-93, it stands on the spot of an older, pre-revolutionary, covered market and is divided into three lines. Originally, to mimic the trading rows, each passage was devoted to of a specific good.
What to buy: There is a well-placed cafe at the south end of the first or second line, where you can sit and enjoy an espresso and light sandwich (we did this in place of breakfast on several mornings). . .and best of all, people-watch.
The mall was consistently busy, but not packed. . .and my most amusing memory was counting the number of ice cream cones that we spotted before 10 a.m.