Izmaylovo Market is your one-stop souvenir venue in Moscow. Hundreds of vendors selling everything from novel souvenirs to expensive jewelry will tempt. Your first trip to Izmaylovo Market will leave you a little dazzled, so either plan a full day of shopping there or come back at a later date to make your purchases.
What You Can Buy at Izmaylovo (Izmailovo) Market
Izmaylovo Market is where you can find all those Russian souvenirs you'd like to take home. From matryoshka dolls to fur hats to lacquer boxes, Izmaylovo Market has it all. Bring an extra bag to carry your spoils, but don't bring more money than you're willing to spend!
What Else You Can Buy There
Izmaylovo Market has a ground level and two upper levels. The ground level is where the folk art and other typical Russian souvenirs are sold. The next level up will have you sorting through old spoons, obsolete camera equipment, and other odds and ends. The third tier of the market contains some hardcore antique dealers as well as original artwork. The latter is great for browsing but not so good for your wallet.
Where Izmaylovo (Izmailovo) Market Is Located
Conveniently, Izmaylovo Market is located near Izmaylovsky Park. You can take the metro (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line, which is dark blue or purple on the metro map) to the station of the same name, get off there, and ask any local to point you in the direction of the market. It's easy to spot with its wooden-fortress-like encasement and crowds of sated shopper milling back to the metro.
The Market's Hours and How Much It Costs
You can go to Izmaylovo Market any day of the week, but some vendors only show up on weekends, so you may find you have the best selection then. The best times to go are on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or Sunday from 10 a.m. to around 3. Different guides may suggest other hours of operation, but you'll be guaranteed to find what you want at these days and times. You'll have to pay a few dollars for the entry fee.
A Word of Caution
Some vendors will exaggerate the quality of their wares. A "wolf fur" hat might be merely rabbit, or a piece of Soviet military history might be a low-grade reproduction. Examine what you want to purchase closely, and only buy after you have familiarized yourself with other vendors' wares.
The Charm of Izmaylovo (Izmailovo) Market
While some of the sales people are just out to make a quick ruble, some of the other vendors are truly a delight to talk to. Often, these people make their products themselves or contribute to a family business. It is a joy to chat with these people who lovingly wrap their little treasures so that you can take them home safely. Not only will they sell you their painted folk art or embroidered aprons, but they will give you a story to accompany each, making the souvenirs all the more special.