Kuznechny Market in St. Petersburg Russia

Outside view of Kuznechny
Outside view of Kuznechny

When I visited St. Petersburg (My Trip of a Lifetime), I visited the most unimaginable places, went to strange districts and tried to see and feel as much as it was possible during my brief stay. One of my surprises were Russian markets. Those are giant halls where people sold vegetables, fruits, crops and meat. The one I went was called Kuznechny Market (or rynok in Russian). It's located between St. Vladimir Church and Dostoevsky's House. There's a monument to Dostoevsky nearby and the whole street scene outside the market made me really recall characters from his novels: eternal beggars standing by the church entrance, loitering old folks, hopeless street vendors selling handless dolls and bicycle frames along with silver spoons and old photographs. A man in worn out clothes fearfully squeezes a little dog of an unknown breed. Very strange but quite interesting.

Vendor selling her goods. The vegetables look so fresh.
Vendor selling her goods. The vegetables look so fresh.

So you enter the market. Immediately you are knocked by the sweet intoxicating scent: everything's fresh! From the dark aisles you get into the bright hall filled with counter rows. One section sells fruits, the other vegetables and so forth. You want to buy everything you see, especially when the sellers enthusiastically invite you to try this and that. Apparently they allow you to try fruits and vegetables before you buy them. They would cut you a piece of watermelon or let you try grapes. Some people just go there to try food and not to buy anything. You can buy fresh products that were brought from not only nearby fields and gardens but also from such far exotic places as Kazakhstan and Georgia. You can buy giant melons looking like a 10-time size cantaloupe, apples, pears, plums, grapes, pomegranates, apricots, peaches, tomatoes, potatoes, beetroots, peas. The sellers used different kinds of scales: from modern to very archaic and funny-shaped, like two pan balance looking like it came from the 1950s.

 Russians have a tooth for salted foods, that is, cured with salt. Everything seems to go thru salting: cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, meat and fish. And the market is the place to buy those products. You see mountains of different kinds of pickles. Everything is handmade. I personally don't fancy salting that much but I understand that in severe Russian climate that is the best traditional way to preserve food for long periods. You can also buy fresh meat but you have to be an expert cook to know what part to take and how to define the quality of meat.

Theh Kuznechny Market also has plenty of fresh meat.
Theh Kuznechny Market also has plenty of fresh meat.

In the dark vaults along the hall walls there's another kind of sellers: those are 'babushkas', old women who sell mushrooms and wild berries they picked the night before in the forest. Apparently they do it illegally because as soon as we saw the police, they immediately disappeared into shadows.

When we came out on the street, I was struck by the most beautiful sounds I ever heard in the air. I kept asking what it was and my husband pointed at the nearby church. Inside there was a choir and they had a speaker over the church entrance that was broadcasting the liturgy. There was no music, just voices and it was surreal to hear that ancient hymns in the center of the city. We wanted to come in but there was no way: it was so crowded that we just passed. And we heard the singing for a long time echoing the streets.

So if you ever want to buy fresh food in Russia, markets are a really interesting experience.

A markerKuznechny Market in St. Petersburg, Russia -
St Petersburg, Russia
[get directions]

Old women selling their goods.
Old women selling their goods.
The Vladimir Church.
The Vladimir Church.

The Kuznechny Market offers a variety of food

Making honey at Kuznechny Market
Making honey at Kuznechny Market
Fresh Salads looked great.
Fresh Salads looked great.
They even had Russian Bisuits
They even had Russian Bisuits
And lets not forget fresh fish.
And lets not forget fresh fish.
One of their specialities is cheese and lots of it.
One of their specialities is cheese and lots of it.

Nevsky Prospekt near kuznechny Market

A markerNevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg Russia -
Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg, Russia, 190000
[get directions]

Haggling, Haggling

For many years farmers markets have offered exotic produce but at pretty steep prices. Kuznechny Market is considered to be one of the best, if not the best in quality and selection.

The vendors will try anything to get you to taste their wares in order for you to buy, so haggle furiously, especially in the meat department where they not only carry Japanese deli food but also korean food.

Their hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday 8 am- 8 pm, Sunday 8 a.m- 6 p.m. Kuznechny is about five minutes from Nevsky Prospekt, which happens to be one of the most popular shopping areas in St. Petersburg.

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Comments 19 comments

geegee77 profile image

geegee77 6 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

Wow that market looks awsome definitely another world over there great hub:) ge


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan

Lovely hub, nice pictures.

I went to this palce in 1993 just after the breakup of Soviet Union. I was advised by someone to go and see Russia as early as possible before it crumbles. Hermitage Museum was awesome. I could hardly see 20% in one day. The ticket was quite expensive and there was a long line to buy one. No foods were available inside the museum and naturally one could not devote more than six hours in a row.

But you have shown a different picture. Thank you.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

geegee77 thanks for visiting. It is definitely another world there at least it feels like it and that's why its good to have somone who knows their way around. Cheers to you.

Hafeezrm thanks for visiting and you are right about the prices. Apparently they have prices for Russians and prices for Americans and that is why I kept my mouth closed and my husband(being Russian)did all the talking to get us better prices. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hermitage museum and may do a hub about that for the contest next week. Cheers to you sir.


Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 6 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

Wow, this was amazing. Loved all the photos and info on my favorite subject - FOOD! Another winner dear sis.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for the vote of confidence sis, there really is so many places to see in Russia, it was amazing, I cant wait to go again if only one of my sisters would go with me...lol thanks again cheers.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

What an amazing, colorful place! I would love to visit it someday. Gosh- just the counter where they're making honey could keep me entertained for hours. I love this hub, and adore the beautiful photos! Thanks so much for creating it XD


rose56 profile image

rose56 6 years ago

What a wonderful place. I hit the green button on this one. It does look like a winner. Good luck.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Simone hello glad you liked my hub. Russia was fantastic and so exciting. Even something as simple as a market was so different then what you see in the states. I wish I could have spent more time there. Cheers.

Rose56 thanks so much, you always have something nice to say. Cheers.


europewalker profile image

europewalker 6 years ago

Wonderful hub! Need to add this to my list of places I still need to visit.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

europewalker thanks so much for your nice comments. Im sure you would enjoy it if you did go. cheers.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

Wow, everything looks different from what it used to be two decades ago, when I left Russia.

Actually, fruits from Middle Asia (melons, watermelons) and Russian tomatoes were always magnificent. And still, in those years we didn't see such a variety.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

ReuVera thanks for reading and for your input. I agree about the melons they are wonderful. Cheers.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Those vegetables and fruit look ultra-fresh and tasty. I remember the smell. During my 1st 6 years we lived on a small farm. While my father was at work, my mother ran the vegetable garden. Every morning she took a load of fresh vegetables to the market. I went with her during school holidays and investigated all the (cement) tables loaded with fresh vegetables. We always returned home with a load of withered vegetables for our pigs. Thank you for refreshing my memories!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Martie good to see you again and Im glad you enjoyed my hub. It was fun writing it because it brought back so many memories for myself and my short time in Russia. I cannot wait to go back. Cheers to you.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Really beautiful. I went ahead and hit the "funny" button too. The naked chickens looked a little funny.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hey Micky thanks for the compliment and you can hit my funny button anytime. Cheers.


the fix 6 years ago

Fantastic hub!! I wanna gooooo! Thanks for sharing your pictures, they are really wonderful. Looks like you had a ball. I also like the products you put up.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

the fix you should deinitely go and experience this market and Russia, its fantastic cheers.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I learned to haggle in the Middle East. Oh, they make you think you are taking the food out of the mouths of their children. If we were really deadlocked on a price the piece d'resistance was for me to walk out of the souk. But, boy, if the vendor followed me out with a better offer, I'd better be ready to take it. Because if he did that and I didn't accept it, he'd never do business with me again.

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