A trip to Izmailovsky Market
24 July, 2017
On Sunday my friend Shen and I ventured into the eastern reaches of Moscow for the Izmailovsky Market. It was a fascinating and often bewildering experience.
The market scene is quite hard to describe. It’s a mixture of Soviet kitsch, Disney Land and a medieval market. The market stalls sell a variety of wares from matryoshka dolls to Soviet weaponry. Shen is a collector of Soviet-era cameras so I stood back and watched him haggle with the traders and secure a great bargain on a Jupiter 3 lens.
It was a great place to practice Russian as you had to be quick on your feet and good with numbers. There was a huge range of matryoshka dolls depicting babushkas, Putin and Ronaldo. We also purchased some Soviet posters ranging in topic from anti-capitalism to sport.
Kalashinkov’s (no longer working!) were also for sale alongside esoteric Soviet pins, badges and books. I had a peruse through their record collection but unfortunately couldn’t find any Sovietjazz. AsI discussed in my last post it can be quite hard to find!
After perusing the stalls for a few hours we stopped for some delicious barbeque in the middle of the market. Lamb, vegetables, fish and chicken were all available cooked in a Central Asian style served with lovely bread and sauces. We ate in an upstairs room that was filled with barbeque smoke and a fog of Russian cigarettes. In combination with the incredibly juicy meat it made for an amazingly sensuous lunch.
After eating our fill we ventured into the slightly tacky but nonetheless fun ‘Tsar’s Palace’ next door. Here was a stereotypical take on Russian culture with stuffed bears, vodka museums, kvass tasting all drawing in hundreds of tourists. Despite the artificial feel it was a fun way to spend an hour or two and provided some great photos and lovely drinks.
The market is open on weekends and the nearest metro station is Izmailovskaya.
This post was brought to you by Tom, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz, Moscow.