Moscow - Izmailovo Market and Park - fairy wonderlands

JUN 21,2015 - JUN 21,2015 (1 DAYS)

Shopping

Tip 1: Izmailovo Market.

Tip 2: Izmailovo Park and the Tsar Estate.

Walk in Izmailovo Kremlin and Markets:

Duration: 3-4 hours. PLEASE ALLOW EVEN 4-5 hours (especially, in the weekends). You won't regret allowing more time for this very typical Russian site ! One of the more interesting places to visit in Moscow.

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This vibrant, exceptionally colorful, authentic and cheap market is packed with handmade crafts, antiques, original atifacts and pure Russian memorabilia. The market is formally open every day. BUT, BETTER come here on weekends, when the selection is far greater. You'll find here just about anything you might want for a souvenir. This is the most extensive market on earth for traditional woodworking crafts. There are also rugs, pottery, napkins, hats, jewellery, handkerchiefs, chess sets, home decoration items from Central Asia and Past-Soviet republics. Don't hesitate to negotiate (politely). From my experience, don’t expect vendors to come down more than 20-30%. Most of the vendors look honest and hard-day workers. On Izmailovo market all the souvenirs are much cheaper than in the center of the city. After three weeks in Russia - we can say that we didn't face such low prices in any other place in this giant country cities.

Directions from Izmailovo Hotels complex (near Partizanskaya Metro station in line 3, the Dark Blue one):

From the Izmailovo-Gamma-Delta building head north for 500 m. and turn right for 230 m. You'll see a VERY COLORFUL complex of towers, turrets and walls in front of you. This is the Izmailovo Kremlin (see below). The complex “Kremlin and Vernissage in Izmailovo” is located in one of the most beautiful historical places of Moscow, on the bank of Serebryano-Vinogradny pond.

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History: During Perestroika (the literal meaning of Perestroika is "restructuring", referring to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system) and post-Perestroika times (from years 1986-7), there was Cherkizovsky market nearby. The market was founded in the early 1990s. It was the BIGGEST marketplace in Europe and employed nearly 100,000 workers (mainly from Central-Asia republics). It was quite a filthy place.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin complained at a government meeting that last year's large-scale confiscation of smuggled Chinese goods on the Cherkizovsky market hadn't resulted in convictions. Moscow city authorities closed it down on June 29, 2009 on grounds of numerous violations of regulations and illegal activities. In July, 2009, Moscow authorities confirmed that the market was to be replaced with a Chinatown.

There was no Kremlin in Izmailovo back then, but there was something called Izmailovo Vernissage, a place where all kinds of Russian and pseudo-Russian items were sold, like souvenirs, clothes, jewlery etc. The place was quite popular with tourists and foreigners. Izmailovo Vernissage burned down several times, probably due to mafia wars. Cherkizovsky market was completely closed down, and, gradually, the  Izmailovo Kremlin was erected nearby. From ancient times every Russian town had its own Kremlin that protected it from enemies. A Kremlin was considered to be a center of all settlement. Firstly Kremlins were wooden, then, stone and refractory with impregnable towers and moats. Nowadays Russia has about 20 such historic and cultural buildings that are not just military fortresses but also great architectural complexes with temples, palaces and halls. Everybody knows about the famous Moscow Kremlin BUT only few know about the second Kremlin in Moscow, that is called the Izmailovo Kremlin. To the foreign visitor it looks spectacular - but, it is very kitschy and simplistic. The Kremlin in Izmailovo has already gained its reputation for its unusual architecture and style performed in native Russian traditions. Each building is unique and has its own name and history.

Opening Times: Every day, 9.00 - 18.00. Entrance is FREE.

Transport: Izmailovo Market is a 5-7 minutes walk from metro Partizanskaya, east on the dark blue line.

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Just take a left from the metro entrance, follow the crowds, and look for the brightly painted Kremlin. DO NOT go to metro Izmailovskaya — the walk is quite far.

The entrance to the Kremlin:

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Nowadays, the Kremlin in Izmailovo - is a center of culture and entertainment, based at the famous Izmailovo Vernissage. You each find here - tours, workshops on Russian crafts, meal in restaurants and cafes. For the little and the older ones. The whole site was intended for conferences, ceremonies, weddings, entertainment and even as a business center. But, here I must warn you: it looks a bit neglected, not homogenous and lacks direction and purpose. It looks very impressive from the distance (and, even, close-by) - a fairy-tale site. But, your main purpose, here, would be the souvenirs and Russian memorabilia markets. There are fequent workshops, fairs, exhibitions, conferences - but, mainly, in the weekends. See Izmailovo web site: http://www.kremlin-izmailovo.com

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The Vernissage, a fair where objects of fine arts, crafts, folk crafts, souvenirs and antiques can be found, is very popular among the visitors of the capital. Vernissage is a town of craftsmen where you can visit the Street of Handicrafts, the Paintings Lane, the Flea Market, the Antique and Silver Rows and purchase appealing souvenirs. The first level of the wooden market structure is filled with classic Russian Matryoshki (Russian nesting dolls), clothing and art. Further from the entrance and in the 2nd floor (see below) are antiques, Soviet paraphernalia, and piles of junk which might hold some undiscovered treasures:

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In the south-east corner of the whole complex - you enter a MARVELLOUS INTERNAL COURTYARD WITH A STUNNING COLLECTION OF COLORFUL HOUSES, MOATS, TOWERS, BRIDGES - ALL MADE OF WOOD. It is the fairy-tale Izmailovo Kremlin built during the last seventies near the market. UNFORGETTABLE PLACE !

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In Izmailovo Kremlin you can visit various museums: Museum of Bread (Wednesday - Sunday, from 10.00 to 18.00),

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Chocolate Museum, the Museum of Russian toys, Museum of Russian dresses and life, Museum of Bells, Museum of Russian Fairy-Tale, Museum of the History of vodka and the Museum of the History of the Russian Navy.

One of the most interesting museums is probably the Russian Vodka History Museum. The Vodka Museum is located inside the Izmailovo Kremlin. Once you reach the Izmailovsky market entrance, just follow the signs. The museum only has one floor, and it’s not very big. But you should still expect to spend about an hour and a half looking around. The collection represented there demonstrates century-long history of Russian vodka since the time it was invented till the present day and contains over 600 kinds of this drink. The exhibits give you the detailed and fun history of vodka in Russia and tell you about the role it plays in Russian society. You will learn that it has changed the course of history in Russia on more than one occasion. The museum is quite impressive, plus with the regular tour a complimentary shot is of course included ! After the tour you can also arrange to attend a vodka tasting session and buy your favorite brands. All information and signs at the museum are in Russian and English. Worth a visit if you're prepared to find it !

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Apart from the Vernissage and museums, you are invited to participate in unusual master classes in pottery, soap making, willow weaving, gingerbread painting and other kinds of folk crafts. Here you will not only get acquainted with the old Russian manufacturing history and secrets, but will also be able to create your own handiwork that will keep reminding you of your joyful and unusual leisure for a long time.

Once you have passed the through the main lane alleyways (there are two from the entrance) , you will reach some steps that go up. These steps go (in the centre of the photo below) up to the second floor - antique section:

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Nature

Tip 2: Izmailovo Park and the Tsar Estate:

Duration: 2-3 hours. Can be combined with Izmailovo market into FULL ONE wonderful day !

Weather: we did the stroll in the park in a rainy day. No problems ! Wonderful air and beautiful nature.

The entrance is free.
Promenade area working hours: 24/7
Working hours of amusement rides: on Fridays, days off and holidays from 11.00 am to 19.00. The paths are well paved and marked (in Russian...). THERE IS NO PROBLEM OF LOSING YOU WAY !

Near the giant Izmailovo hotel complex there is one of the largest city parks in Europe - Izmailovo Park. It is far bigger than the Central Park in NY. The park offers relative peace and quiet being somewhat apart from the hassle and bustle of the city. Walking along the paths, alongside the pond and the forests is quite relaxing before or after a day of exploring the city.

History: The small village lzmailovo was founded on the bank of the Serebryanka River at the turn of the 16th century. It belonged to the noble family of the lzmailovs. In the middle of the 16th century the ancestral village larnailovo was the part of Vasiltsev settlement (Stan) owned by boyar Nikita Zakharyin-Juriev, the grandfather of Tsar Mikhail Fiodorovich Romanov. In 1654 lsrnailovo Estate became a fief of Tsar Alexsey Mikhaylovich. In the beginning he was attracted by the forests encompassing the territory. It was a nice place hunting ground. But in 1663 he decided to establish a new type of economic estate there. The old village with the wooden buildings of boyars and a wooden church constructed in 1620s was turned into an island. In 1667 by the order of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich the bed of Serebryanka River was dammed in such a wsay that the two ponds - Vinogradniy and Serebrianly - were turned into a water ring with an island in the middle via stone and earthen weirs. The island accommodated the palace ensemble. The economic development of lzmailovo began in 1654 when Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich started to relocate the peasants from other regions of Russia to lzrnailovo. A lot of skillful serfs were resettled from Peskov, Belgorod, Smolensk, Astrakhan and Kiev to farm the land and build chambers and churches. The relocation was conditioned by a decision to create a model agricultural center in lzrnailovo. The idea was to enable the cultivation southern horticultures there. Therefore, advanced types of husbandry were introduced. Some of them were more advanced than the past-European ones. Several attempts were made to cultivate exotic plants like silk trees, almonds, roses. Gardens and orchards were equipped with irrigation systems and further mechanization was picking upspeed. Observation towers were built on the fields of the estate along with dams and watermills on Serebryanka.

The vast territory of Izmailovo Park is designed for walks and entertainments. It provides lots of opportunities. Apart from numerous amusement rides, one can ride horses, ride a boat, hire skates and roller-skates depending on the season. One can come here with children of any ages. In summer weekends concert programs take place, orchestra plays and there are performances for children and jazz evenings in Izmailovo Park. State and folk holidays are celebrated here with large-scale festivals. Traditionally, on September 5, on the City Day, festive fireworks paint the sky above Izmailovo Park with bright colors.

Izmailovo Park from the Izmailovo Gamma-Delta Hotel, room 2224 in the 22nd fllor:

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Into the Izmailovo Park. The walk from the Izmailovo hotels to the Tsar Estate lasts 20-30 minutes:

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The Izmailovo Kremlin from the Izmailovo Park:

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The Izmailovo Park is fluent with splendid woods views. Sometimes, it looks more a forest than a park:

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Here and there you see neglected, decaying houses near the Tsar estate:

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Tsar's Estate "Izmailovo" (Усадьба Измайлово). The windows of the rooms command a lovely view onto the Izmailovsky Island surrounded with the ring of Serebryano-Vinogradnye ponds. On the island there is the Tsar's Estate "Izmailovo", historical complex of architectural monuments of the 18-19th centuries related to the most important events in the history of the Russian state where excursions and fancy-dress parades rake place.

The estate is situated on the unique artificial island created by imperial order of the second Tsar of the Romanov family – Alexei Mikhaolovich, the father of Peter I. Peter’s Childhood and years of youth passed in the estate. In 1685—1694 Izmailovo woods were the place for maneuvers of his toy armies.

The Mostovaya Tower used to be the front gate of the estate where now there is a branch of the State Historical Museum "Izmailovo and Rulers of Russia". The estate briefly flourished under Tsar Alexis and his daughter Sophia Alekseyevna, being the center of a large estate park with model farms, workshops and hunting reserves. The heart of the estate, the Izmailovo Court of Tsar Alexis (Государев двор в Измайлово), was a wooden palace built on an artificial island - a hill surrounded by man-made ponds. The present-day Court retains two sets of palace gates, a cathedral and a barbican tower built in the 1670s-1680s. Other extant structures of the Court were built by Konstantin Thon and Mikhail Bykovsky in 1839–1859, when the island was converted into an almshouse, and in the 1970s. The present-day Court is a FREELY accessible open-air museum.

Architectural and Park Ensemble Tsars Country Estate lzmaylovo is a unique historical complex of cultural heritage of the 17th-l9th centuries. The property represents one of the best examples of outstanding estate ensembles of this time. The architectural ensemble of the Estate is a picturesque composition of various structures standing out against the background of the park's greenery and mirror-like waters of the pond. The combination of austere composition of Tsar's Yard, the stately Intersession Cathedral, the barbican Mostovaya Tower located on the artificially created island of Serebryanno-Vinogradnyi pond, and well preserved ancient park forms a unique cultural landscape in perfect consonance with the infrastructure of modern Moscow mega-city:

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Izmaylovo Estate  became part of the expanding Moscow city in the 20th century. Its territory spanned 10 to 15 square kilometres of the Serebryanka river valley and corresponds, roughly, to present-day Izmaylovo Forest, Terletsky Forest (south-east) and the Cherkizovo market (north-west) territories between the inner ring of the Moscow Railroad and the green beltway:

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The main attraction of the park is the beautiful Pokhorovoskiy Cathedral on Silver Island or Cathedral of Intercession, which was completed in 1679. Although badly damaged during Napoleon's 1812 invasion, the cathedral was restored by the great Moscow architect Konstantin Ton in 1840. He also supervised the construction of the buildings which now surround the cathedral, originally designed as a military hospital. Two more buildings from the original estate, the Ceremonial Gate and the Bridge Tower, lie in front of and behind the cathedral respectively.The Cathedral of Intercession was restored externally in the 1960s and reopened as an Orthodox church in 1993. As at September, 2008, historical buildings of the Tsar's Court operate as a division of the Moscow United Museum, which also includes Kolomenskoe, Lefortovo and Lyublino Estate. The Court itself (but not the interiors of the Court buildings) is freely accessible to the public. There is a small exhibition of 17th-century art in the groundfloor of the barbican tower; the tower periodically houses chamber music concerts.

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Tsar estate gardens:

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