Best Places For Souvenir Shopping in Moscow
Amazing things at amazing places
Izmailovo Flea Market
Located on the artificial island in the reconstructed 17-th century fortress in the north-west of Moscow, this huge market offers a vast variety of souvenirs and antiquities from all regions of Russia. Dive deep into the labyrinth of trinkets, old books, classic and not-so-classic souvenirs, handcrafted stuff and you might be lost for hours, but will be pleased with what you get. If you are looking for some unique, non-standart souvenirs and antiquities, Izmailovo Flea market is definitely a place to visit.
And underneath this bustling Izmailovo Market lies dormant a fascinatingly preserved cold-war relic – Joseph Stalin Bunker. Pradiz company offers quality Stalin Bunker Tour, if you are more interested in XX century hiostory than antiquities. But that doesn't mean that you cannot include both in your tour programm. Many travellers say that visiting sities of various historical periods is the best way to perform fully-fledged cultural dive into the country's history, and bring along some wonderful and authentic Russian souvenirs with you! Izmailovo Flea Market is, perhaps, one of the best destinations for souvenir shopping in Moscow - it may not have the specialisation, or some unique spirit, but there you may find almost literally everything – from ancient Russian crafts to modern cosmonaut equipment.
Arbat Street in Moscow. This place is full of street musicians, painters, peddlers, and wandering performers. Stretching from the Central Bank of Russia and Foreign Ministry on the Smolenskaya Square, to Russian Army headquarters on the Mokhovaya Square, this informal street has been always a center of attraction for people who want to sell their craft on Arbat Street. During your Moscow City Tour, take a chance explore this street and its surroundings, in the historical heart of Moscow. Houses of famous Artists, Musicians and Painters, including Russian classic A. Pushkin's home in Moscow, the Old Arbat has the whole Russian history laid in bricks of its paving. And you will have a chance to buy it.
- There are two Arbat streets in Moscow, Old (Stariy) Arbat and New (Noviy) Arbat. They lie parallel to each other, and while New Arbat Street is a shiny-lit promenade with boutiques and posh restaurants, Old Arbat Street is more cultured, spirited street with the air of bygone days.
Museum Panorama of the Battle of Borodino
This museum is dedicated to the 1812 war against napoleon, or as it usually referred in Russia - Patriotic War (not to be confused with Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945) and named after specific battle – the battle of Borodino.
In the outcome of that battle, despite Russians lost much more soldiers than French, and had to withdraw behind Moscow after it had ended, this battle is referred to as a heroic standoff, because it weared off the spirit of the French army, and bought time to evacuate Moscow and prepare a great fire trap for Napoleon there, which would lead to his bitter defeat shortly after.
If you are into 18-19th century warfare collectibles, you will find the souvenir shop inside Panorama as one of the best placve in Moscow to purchase souvenirs from that age.
Handcrafted tin soldier figurines and miniatures – is the local special. Professionaly crafted, this – and sometimes even compositions of battle scenes - will be a great addition to any military history conoisseur.
Alexandovskiy garden and St. Basil Cathedral
Near Moscow Kremlin, there is always many sites for souvenir shopping. Every Moscow City Tour goes through Alexandrovsky Garden, a place of much historical importance. Near the Kremlin walls, there are an alley of monuments, dedicated to cities which were on the frontline during the Great Patriotic War – called Cities of Martial Glory, or Hero Cities. Eternal flame with honor guards , and some remnants from the Tzarist Russia period. And deeper into its wide alleys, many souvenir peddlers are offering their wares. The prices here are usually lower,if compared to those in official Moscow Kremlin souvenir shops or to the shops in a Red Square, but the variety of souvenirs is even better.
- In Winter, Alexandrovsky garden have musch less choice of souvenirs. But to compensate it, there is an annual fair on Manezhnaya Square, near the Historical museum of Russia – its opening times changes eveyr year, you better check it out before your visit.
If you are interested in Orthodox cultural and religious souvenirs (icons, crosses, cult items), you might find a great choice of them inside the St. Basils Cathedral. This iconic cathedral, is now accesible to public, and while walking among its beautiful halls, built in true authentic Russian Style in architecture, you will enjoy shopping of religious and culture souvenirs. However, prices here are not cheap, and mostly even higher than in other places around.
Vorobievy Gory (Sparrow Hills) Observation Desk
At Sparrow Hills observation desk, offers a spectacular view at all the Moscow – from Kremlin in the historical center, to skysrapers of Moscow City complex. Located near Stalinist architectural masterpiece of Moscow State University main building, overlooking the high bank of Moscow River, it is offering breathtaking views and great photo opportunities, and truly flourish at night, with all the city lights sprawls like a sea a of lights beneath you.
During the day, numerous weddings are celebrating there – a photo of bride and groom at the observation desk, traditionally is a common part of Russian wedding celebration. In the evening, Moscow streetracers and bikers usually gather there, to show-off their custom and luxurious cars and bikes, and drifting skills.
No wonder it is one of the iconic places of Moscow, popular with locals and one of a must-visit places in Moscow for most tourists. And where tourists go, so do the peddlers. Many steet stands offer a good variety of souvenirs – from standard types, like Russian nesting dolls (Matreoshkas) , to something unusual or even weird.
Be aware that this souvenir market exists only during some days – local administration don't like souvenir peddlers, and sometimes expell them from the Observation Desk Zone. But they always return, usually after a day or two.
About the author
Diana Zalenskaya, a travel professional and destination expert for Moscow, Russia.