From Faberge to Flea Markets – The Best Places to Shop in Moscow

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Any holiday is incomplete without an indulgent shopping spree. Even if you aren’t particularly fond of shopping, the sheer variety of souvenirs and local handicrafts is bound to overwhelm you. A shopping trip isn’t merely for buying things, it is a way to understand the character of a city. The same is true for Moscow, a city where opulent shopping malls coexist with flea markets and hipster shopping arcades.

There is something in Moscow for everyone, right from luxury shoppers looking for premium brands to tourists travelling on a tight budget. While it is true that capital city has a reputation for being an expensive city, it is always to possible to find decent bargains if you know where to go. Here is a list of some of the best places to shop in the capital city of Russia:

  1. Petrovka Boulevard – If you want to get a real taste of Russia, take a walk along the Petrovka Boulevard. Overlooking several malls in the Atrium, the Petrovka street is lined with shops selling a hundred flavours of Russian vodka, Russian fur coats and caps, caviar, jewelry, trinkets, and all sorts of Soviet memorabilia. This is the perfect market to stock up on local souvenirs for friends back home.
  2. GUMThe GUM which translates to the Main Universal Store in English is one of the biggest shopping malls in the entire country. The mall is designed as a 19th century arcade and is home to premium luxury brand like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hugo Boss. The upper level stores are occupied exclusively by Russian premium brands. If you are looking to splurge on your holiday, GUM should be high on your list of must-visit places.
  3. TsUM – Giving some stiff competition to GUM is this six-storeyed building with stores of all major European luxury brands. Although it lacks the architectural beauty of GUM, it makes up by offering a broader variety of brands. Both the GUM and TsUM are strategically located in the heart of the city. In fact, they are just a few miles away from the Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel Moscow, which is, more often than not, the chosen luxury hotel of the elite clientele of these malls.
  4. EliseevskyGastronom – If you have done your share of shopping for the day, head to the Eliseevsky to titillate your taste buds with some local Russian culinary delights. The best part is that you can even take some of them back home. The Eliseevsky was established a 100 years ago and boasts of an ornate building with Neo-Baroque architectural elements. Here, you can treat yourself to the most exquisite of Russian chocolates, candies, tea cookies and of course, vodka.
  5. Izmailovsky Market – Also known as Vernisazh market, this is the closest you will come to a finding a flea market in Moscow. The market is full of vendors selling local handicrafts, artwork, woodwork, Asian pottery, Soviet posters and much more. The prices are negotiable but don’t expect to walk away with sizeable bargains. That said, this is one of the more affordable markets in the city.

Image: Moscow, Russia (Film Scan) by Thomas Depenbusch, on Flickr

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