A nearly untouched by time consignment store found at Preobrazhensky val 25, next to a church or a monastery with a large “Иконописная мастерская” (icon-painting shop) sign.
What a pattern. Things I like appear to aggregate around religious establishments, which I don’t like. Yes, there is a story why but it is beyond the scope of this Uncle Pasha’s Moscow project.
One of the sellers at the “down and out” part of the Preobrazhenka flea market shared info on a few locations of other undocumented and unknown (except to true connoisseurs) flea markets in Moscow and around. These are:
- Near train station Novopodrezkovo, north end, in Moscow. This is the heir to the old famous Lianozovo. Said to be good and big.
Ballet and tickets is one of the question I get regularly. When in a good mood I say something neutral like “the Bolshoi is there to fleece fools like you”. Otherwise the traveller will hear a diatribe that will include the story of my two visits there, first in 1993, when I, myself a foreigner after a 12 year Canadian exile, fell obligated to get some “culture” before going back. Back then I was somewhat taken aback by numerous matreshka doll sellers in the lobby. In December 2011 MORE>>
One of the very few flea-markets still around in bland and sterile 2013 Moscow. Possibly the only one. It migrates around the Preobrazhensky farmers market but last two times the biggest concentration of sellers was on the lane from Metro Preobrazhenskaya to the market itself.
Watch for “No flea-market” (literally “sale from hands”) signs. The old ones simply say no. The newer ones are much wordier and end with a promise of a 1000-2500 rouble ($30-80) fine. Most activity happens under this sign.
This time the two policemen lazily chasing sellers away were not there, possibly because of Orthodox Epiphany, which is Jan. 19. But the police post is there.
Not much active trade. The market seems more like a club, with animated, often – usually – political discussions. The loudest and most involved this time was about “pidoras Putin” and “Jews selling Russia away to Americans” and thus deserve to be hanged. Alexandra, who was exploring the other end, witnessed an equally intense by less blood thirsty exchange abut the true creator of the Cheburashka concept.
Usually nondescript household items from the 80s but among them you can find a picture perfect fur cap or a scarf that half of male population would wear 40 years ago.
Soviet-era badges. If looking for a small and inexpensive embodiment of the epoch, that may be it.
Whereas even five years ago flea markets were for the poor, now glossy magazines will lament of their disappearance and write reviews of the few remaining ones. Fashion-conscious Moscow kids no longer find it shameful to shop at flea markets if only they were allowed. These two are contemplating a quality pair of skates. Those who understand are still hunting for light soft old variety with blades made of superior steel.
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Other posts that mention flea markets >>
The most impressive collection of old bibles I’ve ever seen is in the Old Believers “Knizhnaya Lavka” (“book bench”) by the Preobrazhensky market. A small room stacked to the ceiling with books that are oozing with sanctity but can be purchased at prices that, given their age, appear more than reasonable. Probably in Old Slavonic. No, I didn’t dare to ask to inspect them closer. Doing so out of motivation that is 2/3 curiosity appeared to me something of a sacrilege. A property next door to the market itself, just west from it. The entrance is from the side closest to Metro Preobrazhenskaya.
While there check out a flea market of the 90s sort. Last observed in December 2012 and is note likely to last in the sterility-obsessed 2013 Moscow. You may also want to visit an old cemetery on the other side of the market. And of course the market itself, which will be mentioned a lot in this Guide.
In a desperate search for an alternative to stinky watery something that passes for onions in this city I dropped by the Preobrazhensky farmers market expecting to find it its place yet another shopping center. To my surprise and delight the market is still there, complete with babushkas in head scarves, brutal butchers with typical Tambov and Lipetsk faces, Abkhazians in flat “airfield” hats, worn-out shoppers pulling two-wheeled carts through sludge, and other “rynok” characters and scenes. Huge. Cheap. Straight from the 90s. Definitely deserves a place of honour on my list of places to shop.
I didn’t take any photos but here a site with lots of realistic photos of the market >> and this area of Moscow.
Be warned about aggressive sellers with their shrill voices. A bit of overwhelming till you get used to it. A price to pay – and a part of – authenticity.
And yes, I did find a Tambov babushka with compact dry onions, and am presently going through them in my attempt to subdues one of these Moscow early winter maladies that fall somewhere between common cold, flue, and blues.
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