Izmaylovo market in the East of Moscow with its huge collection of souvenirs and Russian memorabilia is a must on a weekend! I have spent many weekends walking around here and exploring every nook and cranny of the market and its surrounding area. It is located near Izmaylovsky Park which is another lovely place to explore.
When I got off at Patrizanskaya metro station it was easy to find the market as I just followed all the people, as most were headed in that direction. It’s also actually easy to spot with its wooden-fortress-like encasement thats filled with crowds of shoppers.
The market is packed with art, handmade crafts, antiques, Soviet paraphernalia and just about anything you might want for a souvenir. I found Moscow’s biggest original range of matryoshka dolls here and got myself a beautiful one that depicts a Pushkin love story when it is opened up. There are also loads of different fur hats in different colours and styles. When I brought my parents here for a visit my mom and I bought ourselves the coolest fur hats. Believe me in the Russian winter it is a must as it is freezing cold over here and the temperatures reach -35 degrees Celsius on average.
The market has a great food section with a big choice of either meat or fish kebab barbeque with freshly baked bread. This is a great place to have lunch and rest after a morning of souvenir shopping. During winter months you can even get a glass of hot glint wine (mulled or spiced red wine) here to warm up.
Another thing that caught my eye was the beautiful hand painted chess sets that they sell. I got myself a chess set with tiny matryoshka dolls painted with the Russian and American presidents. Russia vs. America on a chess board!
They have a variety of Soviet posters and I even bought a set of the SSSR propaganda posters. I found that you actually do have to negotiate a bit, but that the vendors don’t come down more than 10% most of the time.
Izmaylovo Market is quite big as it has a ground level and two upper levels. The ground level is where all the typical Russian souvenirs are sold. The next level up has loads of odds and ends. Here I found some stalls that sell oil paint and canvasses so I found myself carting some home on the metro as I left. The third tier of the market contains some hardcore antique dealers as well as original artwork. I think that here you would need the help of a local Russian otherwise you could end up paying way too much.
Right next to the market there is a fake wooden Kremlin that was lovely to explore and I also found a small but very informative Vodka Museum on the side. Inside this museum I got to see the whole history of vodka development in Russia and even got to taste some Russian Vodka. I must say that Russian vodka is actually very good; it doesn’t burn or leave any after taste in your mouth.
They had the most amazing vodka bottles here and the best one was shaped and looked like a matryoshka doll. Needless to say this was added to my Russian shopping list.
After the shot of vodka I was ready to brave the cold again and went for a walk to Izmailovsky Park which is just opposite the lake in front of the market.
The park is actually very beautiful with huge birch woods that I had to walk through to get to the beautiful Pokhorovoskiy Cathedral.
As I entered the Cathedral I realised that there was a service in progress so I stood there for a while listening to the choir singing. It was amazing even though I didn’t understand a word of it. The priest came out and everyone prayed with him, he then walked through the crowd blessing people and even stopped in front of me to bless me. Wish I did understand what he was saying to me.
My first trip to Izmaylovo Market left me a little dazzled, so I had to go back several times to explore more and purchase some more souvenirs.