A Rare Place for Bargains and Hidden Treasures

MTStraddling the line between market and exhibition, the Flea Market in T-Modul attracts regular visitors that come every year from all around Russia.
Flea markets, while common in Paris and in London, are difficult to find in the center of Moscow, and many travel all the way to Izmailovo to search for an antique or bargain. But starting today is the 10th annual Flea Market, which is taking place in the T-Modul shopping center at Belorusskaya metro station.

While the Flea Market in T-Modul is not as well known as Notting Hill or Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, it still manages to attract a crowd every year. "It's an anniversary year, but I can't say that we are doing anything different this year from previous years, because each year the Flea Market is different anyway," said Marina Smirnova, the director of Expodium, which organizes the event.

In the '70s and '80s, there was a famous flea market on Tishinskaya Ploshchad, but it was removed to make way for the T-Modul shopping center.

"When we started this project, we knew that this location had the right spirit," Smirnova said.

This year, there will be over 100 vendors, many of whom have flown in from France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

So-called nonsense items make for an interesting addition to this year's event.

"There are items that had a great purpose centuries ago, but are no longer useful. In fact, you can't even tell what some of the objects are." Things falling into that category include a scoop for goats' brains and leg clasps for a lamb. These items all belong to the writer Yelena Lavrentyeva.

Straddling the line between market and exhibition, the event has turned into something of a club lately, Smirnova said.

"There are regulars every year that come from many places around Russia just to have a look at what's here."

The magazine Story, a partner in the project, will publish the accounts of celebrities such as Svetlana Bondarchuk and artist Olga Soldatova and their experiences with flea markets all around the world.

One display to keep an eye out for is the necklaces belonging to Empress Maria Fedorovna. These were thought to have been lost forever before being found in a Georgian flea market.

Like any flea market around the world, half the fun will be the search. "The most important thing is that it is a place where people can come and have a dig and ultimately find something that they are completely in love with," Smirnova said.

The Flea Market runs to Sunday at the T-Modul shopping center, located at 1 Tishinskaya Ploshchad. M. Belorusskaya. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.