Vintage stores in Russia
June 16, 2011 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Cheap vintage or antique stores in St. Petersburg/Moscow?

I'm in Russia for a few more days (today and tomorrow in St. Petersburg, the days after in Moscow), and I really love shopping in low-key, cheap US antique stores so I'd like to try the same thing here. I tried Googling, but it's hard to tell how upscale a place will be, and we don't want to walk all over the city - the one we tried today turned out to contain only museum-quality sculptures and furniture, and the salespeople looked at us like we were street urchins. I'm hoping for the sort of place where you can find old jewelry and trinkets under about $100. Does such a thing exist here?
posted by you're a kitty! to Shopping (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You need to find the open-air markets where Babushki are selling their family trinkets to earn money for essentials. Not the touristy markets, but the markets the locals frequent. Are you staying at a hotel? Ask the concierge maybe?

Sorry I don't have specific locations for you, it's been many years since I've been there, but I remember my host family in Petersburg taking me to exactly the kind of market you're looking for when I was on the prowl for some old Nabokov books (which I found, btw!).

Good luck!

(p.s. I'm very jealous of you)
posted by Zoyashka at 8:45 AM on June 16, 2011

I found a few in Moscow but it is a big city and may not be worth an hour trip to get to them. There is good, cheap kitsch to be found but mostly not too valuable.
posted by JJ86 at 9:55 AM on June 16, 2011

There is a flea market about 10 stops out from the Okhotni Ryad metro line in Moscow is god damn amazing. Not least because it's built like a medieval wooden fortress. Gimme some google time and I'll find it. Don't get discouraged by the tourist tchotckes in front. The good stuff is in back (including machine guns!!!).
posted by spicynuts at 11:22 AM on June 16, 2011

Best answer: Ok it's Izmailovsky Flea market. I spent about 4 hours there and it killed me that I had saved it for the last day I was in Moscow. Next time I'm there (July) I'm going to go super early and be there all day.

One thing you must be careful of....antiques and trinkets may have historical/cultural significance. If this is the case, you may not be allowed to take them out of the country or you may be required to pay exorbitant tariffs to do so. Always ask the vendor. If you do not speak Russian, find someone who speaks English and ask them to talk to the vendor. I wanted to buy some very small bronze icon and when the guy found out I was from NY he was very apologetic but said he could not sell them to me because most likely they would be confiscated as cultural relics if I tried to bring them home. GOOD LUCK! You are going to have a great time!
posted by spicynuts at 11:26 AM on June 16, 2011

Response by poster: Man, spicynuts was so right (thank you!). That place was amazing, and I found some really fantastic stuff in its warren-like back alleys. Highly suggested to everyone!
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:54 AM on July 5, 2011

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