Kyiv’s mar­kets of­fer home­grown food, sec­ond­hand trea­sures, books and much more

Kyiv Post - - Lifestyle - WITH DARYNA KUZ­MENKO

Com­pared to Kyiv’s 50 shiny shop­ping malls, the city’s mar­kets might seem shabby and old-fash­ioned, but they do of­fer some trea­sures that can’t be found any­where else. Apart from home-grown or­ganic fruit, veg­eta­bles and home-made cot­tage cheese, jams and honey, shop­pers can come across rare books, vin­tage clothes or hand-painted Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.

In fact, mar­kets in Ukraine have al­ways been more than just places where goods are bought and sold — they are also places to share the lat­est news and gos­sip, and to meet friends. Many peo­ple still go to them to so­cial­ize, as well as to stock up.

Here are the four best Kyiv mar­kets near the city cen­ter for shop­ping for food, books, and sec­ond-hand goods.

Zhyt­niy mar­ket

Zhyt­niy mar­ket, nes­tled among col­or­ful res­i­den­tial build­ings in Podil, is hard to miss. It is a mas­sive, gray construction built in 1980 and fea­tur­ing a con­cave roof, although to Western eyes it seems older than its 40-or-so years. In fact, the mar­ket’s his­tory dates much far­ther back than the build­ing, to the times of Kyiv Rus, when there was an out­door mar­ket at the site.

The first floor of Zhytiy mar­ket re­sem­bles the in­side of a su­per­mar­ket, with dis­play stalls cov­ered with veg­eta­bles, fruit, meat, eggs, cheese, cot­tage cheese, jars of jams, nuts and dried fruit.

Some peo­ple don’t even get as far as the in­te­rior though, as the side­walk near the en­trance has been also turned into a spon­ta­neous mar­ket, with peo­ple sell­ing pro­duce from their own gar­dens: from flow­ers and mush­rooms to fruit, veg­eta­bles and berries.

Volodymyr Pole­genko has been sell­ing his pro­duce at Zhytiy mar­ket for 30 years. He is 52, and says that there are fewer buy­ers since mod­ern su­per­mar­kets started to open in Kyiv at the be­gin­ning of the cen­tury.

“How­ever, here one can surely buy prod­ucts of high qual­ity from the gar­den,” he says.

Along with other veg­eta­bles, Pole­genko sells the big­gest

pump­kins at the mar­ket — al­most 40 cen­time­ters in di­am­e­ter. He says some Kyiv’s restau­rants or­der veg­eta­bles from him.

Back in­side the mar­ket, the sec­ond floor fea­tures clothes, es­pe­cially lots of Ukrainian tra­di­tional em­broi­dered shirts and cos­tumes. The mar­ket also has stands of­fer­ing ser­vices like dry-clean­ing, clothes and leather bag re­pairs, and tool sharp­en­ing.

The mar­ket is now be­ing par­tially ren­o­vated, so the sec­ond and the third floors re­main half-empty. Next year, cafes and house­ware stores are ex­pected to open there. The Sovi­etera fa­cade will also be mod­ern­ized.

Zhyt­niy mar­ket. 16 Verhniy Val, Mon-Sun 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket

There are two the­o­ries about the ori­gin of the name of Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket. Ac­cord­ing to the first one, the mar­ket was named af­ter traders from Ukraine’s south­ern re­gion of Bes­sara­bia. The other the­ory says the mar­ket takes its name from home­less peo­ple, called bessarabs, who used to live at Bes­sarab­ska Square sev­eral cen­turies ago.

While the ori­gin of its name is un­cer­tain, it is well known that Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket is the most ex­pen­sive mar­ket in Kyiv — prices here can be up to three times higher than at other mar­kets or stores. The rea­son for this is prob­a­bly the mar­ket’s prime lo­ca­tion in the city cen­ter, and its pop­u­lar­ity among rich busi­ness­men, law­mak­ers, and celebri­ties.

Iryna Gis­sar, 45, has been work­ing at Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket for 15 years. She owns a large gar­den in the sub­urbs of Kyiv and sells fruit and veg­eta­bles she grows there. Gis­sar used to work in other mar­kets around the cap­i­tal, but has set­tled at Bes­sarab­sky and says it is the most ex­cit­ing.

“In­ter­est­ing events are held here. For in­stance, there was the open­ing party of this year’s Yalta Euro­pean Strat­egy an­nual con­fer­ence, or­ga­nized by oli­garch Vik­tor Pinchuk. It showed for­eign­ers Ukraine’s agri­cul­ture,” she told the Kyiv Post.

The best time to get a bar­gain at Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket is to come af­ter 5 p.m., when ev­ery­one’s tired and some start pack­ing. It’s then that prices start to go down.

Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket also of­fers street food such as sand­wiches, Viet­namese and veg­e­tar­ian dishes, Ge­or­gian baked goods, cof­fee, craft beer and more.

The mar­ket works al­most around the clock, from 6 a.m. un­til 4 a.m., but that mostly con­cerns flower kiosks and cof­fee shops. Many food coun­ters work un­til 11 p.m., but some close ear­lier.

Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket. 2 Bes­sarab­ska Square, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-4 a.m.

Petrivka book mar­ket

Petrivka book mar­ket is the big­gest in the coun­try for books of all gen­res and top­ics, in­clud­ing fic­tion, his­tory, psy­chol­ogy, cul­ture, paint­ing, nu­mis­mat­ics, the art of tat­too­ing, clas­si­cal lit­er­a­ture, school books and more. Old and new mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers, posters, maps, post­cards, stick­ers and of­fice sup­plies are also to be found here.

While new edi­tions are stocked on shelves in mar­ket stands, sec­ond-hand books are packed in boxes and piled in heaps around the stands.

Sec­ond-hand book­seller Dmytro Drobin, 48, has been trad­ing among such piles of boxes for 18 years.

Drobin says his job is to spot printed trea­sures among mounds of lit­er­ary trash. His fam­ily owns three kiosks at the mar­ket, where he and his part­ners stock about 10,000 books.

“The most re­mark­able book I have ever had was a two-vol­ume gilded world his­tory of pornog­ra­phy start­ing from an­cient times to the Sec­ond World War. I got th­ese books in the early 90-ies from the In­sti­tute of the Phys­i­cal Chem­istry. In the Soviet Union, there was a pri­vate li­brary only for physi­cists and chemists, and there were a lot of for­eign pub­li­ca­tions that were for­bid­den in those times. The books were pub­lished in Europe. I sold it the same day I brought it to Petrivka book mar­ket,” Drobin says.

Aside from books, DVDs and CDs, Petrivka mar­ket of­fers a va­ri­ety of other goods, in­clud­ing clothes, shoes, house­hold chem­istry, bath and toi­let equip­ment, house­ware, tow­els, bed­li­nen, tools, bi­cy­cles, travel equip­ment, elec­tron­ics, sou­venirs and more.

Petrivka mar­ket. Petrivka metro sta­tion. Tue-Sun 11 a.m.— 6 p.m.

Kurenivsky flea mar­ket

This flea mar­ket looks shabby and is full of junk, but among the piles of sec­ond-hand goods sit­ting on sheets ly­ing on the ground, there are some real trea­sures hid­den.

Ven­dors sell pre-war clothes and suit­cases, vin­tage lamps, Ox­ford shoes, oil paint­ings, plates, spoons, cups, chil­dren’s toys, gui­tars, loud­speak­ers, se­lec­tions of old knives, jew­elry, and more.

Kurenivsky pet mar­ket, lo­cated next to the flea mar­ket, sells all kinds of an­i­mals, along with bird cages, toys and pet food. The mar­ket has come in for lots of crit­i­cism by an­i­mal rights ac­tivists, who ac­cuse ven­dors of cru­elty and mis­treat­ing an­i­mals, but the mar­ket ven­dors deny the ac­cu­sa­tions, and say all of the an­i­mals are well cared for.

A wo­man waits for cus­tomers to buy fruit and veg­eta­bles from her at Bes­sarab­sky mar­ket in Kyiv on Sept. 19. (Oleg Pe­tra­siuk)

Petro­vka mar­ket in Kyiv on Oct. 10. (Oleg Pe­tra­siuk)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ukraine

© PressReader. All rights reserved.