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Shopping in Moscow

Since the demise of communism, well-heeled Muscovites have relished the opportunity to shop and, for those with enough roubles, conspicuous consumption has been the order of the day. As a result, Moscow is now one of the most brand-obsessed cities in the world. Boutiques tend to be expensive and glamorous luring those obsessed with status more than purchasing. In fact, some of the city’s wealthiest inhabitants prefer to shop abroad – it’s cheaper.

Key areas

Tverskaya ulitsa, north of Red Square, is Moscow's most fashionable shopping street with numerous highly expensive boutiques. The Arbat is the city’s main shopping district with high-end stores. Petrovka, Moscow's equivalent of Bond Street, is lined with bling products from diamond jewellery to fur coats and antiques.

Markets

Cheremushinsky Rynok, on Lomonovksy prospect, has fresh produce from all corners of the former Soviet Union. The market is open Monday to Saturday 0700-1900 and Sunday 0700-1700. Izmaylovo (Izmailovo) Market is the place to go for souvenirs from paintings and shot glasses to embroidery whilst Gorbushka Electronics Market features a vast array of games, videos and DVDs.

Shopping centres

GUM (Gosudarstvenny Universalny Magazin), formerly a grand 19th-century department store on Red Square, is cram-full of expensive boutiques selling Hugo Boss, Dior, Calvin Klein and the like. Its main rival, cool department store TsUM, features international brands while Barvikha Luxury Village is equally replete with ostentatious wares.


Eliseev Gastronome, at 14 Tverskaya, is worth a visit even if you are not buying. Built in the 1880s as a nobleman's palace, it still retains its original marble pillars, mahogany shelving and candelabras. It is now owned by an upmarket supermarket chain.

Opening hours

Shopping hours in Moscow are generally Monday to Saturday 0900-1800. Some larger stores open from 1000-2000.

Souvenirs

There is plenty of choice for avid souvenir hunter. Look for matryoshka dolls – intricately painted girls with flowered dresses and headscarves; lacquer boxes, fur hats or shapka, birchbark souvenirs featuring delicate lace-like details, ceramics and amber jewellery.

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Izmailovo (Gamma-Delta)

Constructed to accommodate visitors to the 1980 Olympics, the concrete towers of the Izmailovo boast a staggering 8,000 rooms. Institutional in atmosphere, and located far out in the northern suburbs, the hotel is handy for the enormous Izmaylovo Market and has decent city centre links. There are several onsite restaurants and in-room Wi-Fi is available too.

Peking Hotel

Built in 1956 as a little sister to Stalin's Seven Sister skyscrapers, and intended as post-war headquarters for the secret police, Moscow's Peking Hotel is a heritage hotel with a small 'h', in a good location just northwest of the centre. Although slightly old-fashioned, its 130 rooms are comfortable enough, with satellite TV and en-suite bathrooms.

Warsaw Hotel

Although its location may not be one of Moscow's most picturesque, the Warsaw Hotel is convenient for Gorky Park. Considering the quality of the competition, this is one of the best cheap options in the city, with clean and comfortable rooms, albeit in a rather dated style. Wi-Fi is complimentary and the Oktyabrskaya Metro station is right next door.

Golden Apple

A boutique hotel on a refreshingly human scale, the Golden Apple offers imaginative styling and a personal touch that many 5-star hotels lack. Behind the baroque facade, its minimalist rooms are cosy, and there's an onsite restaurant and an open-plan bar too. Staff speak excellent English and there's Wi-Fi access, a gym and a sauna.

Historical Hotel Sovietsky

In the 1950s, Joseph Stalin decreed that the famous Yar restaurant should be upgraded to a hotel and the Historical Hotel Sovietsky was born. It quickly became a showcase for the image of sophistication that the Soviet government wished to present to the world, and its 107 rooms still conjures up the nostalgia of this period in history.

Hotel Danilovsky

It's hard to imagine a more atmospheric place to stay than the 12-century precincts of the historic Danilovsky Monastery. Set amidst chapels and gardens, the hotel is a modern construction, but the rooms are comfortable and all have a view of the stately monastery buildings. There's a sauna and bar onsite too.