Some people are attracted to shopping, while others consider trips to outlets as real torture, but there is a place in St. Petersburg that won’t leave anyone indifferent. Go to the Flea Market at Udelnaya, and you will feel either Aladdin in the treasure cave or a navigator who has found an old pirate treasure. And where else can you find parts for a hundred-year-old Russian Samovar or a military lighter made from a cartridge case?
Various sources have different dates for the appearance of the Udelnaya Market. One author puts the date of the official opening of the shopping complex — 2009, another refers to the photo of the 1920s. Although it started much earlier.
In the second half of the 19th century, the Udelnaya railway station was built, and residents of nearby villages began to carry various goods to the trains. Picturesque places were built up with summer houses, the number of buyers increased, and trade expanded.
St. Petersburg grew and during the years of Soviet power this area went into the city limits, a metro line was built here. In the era of total shortage, flea markets where people bought food, clothing, and household goods were in great demand in the Soviet Union. Leningrad was landscaped, and a square appeared between Farmerskaya Street and the railway. But the traders didn’t leave the Udelnaya, they moved to the crossing. The market didn’t have an official status, but everyone knew that anything could be found on the Udelnaya Market.
The Udelnaya Market is one of the ten world famous flea markets today.
Forbes magazine compares Udelnaya with similar trading places in London, Paris and Tokyo. The Guardian recommends tourists to visit the famous «flea market» of St. Petersburg, where the street shopping rows go for 2 km, and you can find a million different items on the counters.
The flea market has an area of more than 12,000 sq metres and located on the strip between the Farmerskoe Chaussee and the railway.
- There are trade pavilions at the entrance, but this is not the Udelnaya yet. As in any other market, there is official trade in various goods.
- Small houses called “containers” are located further. You can buy goods from Germany or Finland, cosmetics, household chemicals there.
- Stalls under a canopy are behind them. Here they sell a second-hand.
- Go a little further, and you will see the goods lying on the boxes, folding tables, but mostly right on the ground. Here is where it gets interesting.
An old clock lies next to incomprehensible gadgets, broken toys, details from some kind of mechanism. If you do not hurry and carefully look at the goods, you can buy quite decent things at a ridiculous price.
Not every trader knows the true value of their goods, so feel free to bargain
Here are some innocent sellers who have found forgotten old things in the attic, but there are traders who have been working for years. Where do they find old coins, badges, shoes of the 20s and other rarities? Some collect them in landfills, where you can get a lot of interesting things. But there is another category. They are looking for treasure in abandoned villages, where every house has forgotten things: a chest with clothes, tools, children’s toys.
What you can buy here
You can buy everything here. There is a real antique: old books and magazines, porcelain, paintings. Connoisseurs of real and not electronic sound will find well-preserved vinyl records from the beginning of last century.
A large number of items with Soviet symbols are sold at the Udelnaya Market. These are real things from Soviet times:
- pioneer ties
- coins and banknotes
- items marked with the quality mark
For lovers of military and historical subjects flea market is a real treasure. There are a lot of items that were used by both Russian and German fighters in the Second World War. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is interesting to look at historical things:
- shoulder boards and stripes
To get a good thing, you need to understand this issue. You can get a tacky glass made recently in the nearest basement by Chinese craftsmen instead of the porcelain of the imperial service. Genuine antique enthusiasts can bargain for a penny a unique work of art or tableware made of pure silver.
Opening hours in 2019
The Udelnaya Flea Market works every day, but traders may not go to work when the weather is bad. However, they come to the flea market even on holidays.
The official schedule is from 11 am to 7 pm, but not all traders are waiting for closure. They usually bring goods early in the morning, and they begin to break up after lunch. Pavilions and trading houses work according to their own schedule.