Flea Market at Udelnaya
Are you feeling like buying something unique or authentic, something other than mass produced consumer goods made in China? Learn about the informal history of St. Petersburg through shopping at the Flea Market at Udelnaya (or “the Udelka” as the locals call it.)
The Flea Market at Udelnaya is the most famous market in Russia, virtually one-of-a-kind in St. Petersburg and one of the largest flea markets in the world. The place is famous for the abundance of things that remained from the Second World War as well as for genuine Soviet merchandise, unlike those Chinese-made items that fill out gift shops in the city center.
The market offers a variety of goods such as antique samovars, sacred images and busts of Lenin. You can purchase silverware, imperial porcelain, rugs, uniforms, phonograph records, books, bicycles, pins, coins, jewelry, clothes and a variety of obscure items. You will find lots of bits and pieces of different ages for sale, mostly picked up from the scrapyards all over St. Petersburg. Nevertheless, some rare items from private bins can also be found at the flea market. However, you rarely find something truly unique for next to nothing. The place is filled with many secondhand dealers who ferret out valuable things from the morning and then re-sell them at a significantly higher price.
Old grannies trading from the ground are the most eye-catching venders at the flea market. They can offer you both pleasant conversation and some great goods at a low price. Unfortunately, Udelnaya has illegal, stolen and counterfeit merchandise, as does any other Flea Market. Tourists should visit the place accompanied by a local friend or a guide. Bargaining is not only possible but also necessary. When it comes to taking pictures,be very careful since a number of venders respond to it very aggressively, and their reaction makes sense.
The market has composting toilets and a kiosk selling patty cakes and drinks.
Udelnaya operates throughout the year on weekends and holidays. The bulk of the venders set out their goods from 11:00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
How to get there
Take the exit on subway station Udelnaya. Go along the railway station, exit it from the right side, cross the railway tracks and enter the market on the right across the road. First you will see the stands then the second-hand shop; right at the end you will run into Flea Market.
Translation by Evgeniya Gavrilova
Edited by Erin Swanson