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