© iStock/Velirina
© iStock/Velirina
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The Moldavian Arbat- Chişinău's folk souvenir market

3 minutes to read

Chişinău can offer you many things to do during your visit here. However, one of the most popular and fascinating ways of spending time in a foreign country is walking around its shopping markets, especially - the traditional and folk ones. The "Alley of Artists" or the Moldavian Arbat is located in the center of Chişinău on the Stefan cel Mare Boulevard. Near the Organ Hall, it is probably the largest spontaneous souvenir and handmade folk market in the capital. It got its name by analogy to the Moscow Arbat, which is a street full of traders. We usually show this market to our dear guests, because there they can not only see traditional souvenirs but also note the national peculiarities of our locals.

© iStock/verve231
© iStock/verve231

Test your bargaining skills

Shopping on the Alley of Artists can be as unexpected as at the Central Market of Chişinău. Here you will also see the emotional sellers, who will do anything to make you buy some of their goods. Of course, they are passionate people and adore when buyers, and especially tourists bargain with them, argue and make their tedious work spontaneously funny. The main thing to do - is not to hesitate and be yourself. 

Handmade souvenirs to cherish

Besides the local sellers, who will show you all of the colors of our national character, you will be able to have a friendly conversation with the people that sell true masterpieces! I mean handkerchiefs, paintings, handmade souvenirs, fabric or ceramic dolls, and other amazing things. Just be careful with the paintings, because not all of them are "original" and painted by the locals, as they tell you. Also, on the little streets of the Chişinău Arbat, you can find a lot of handmade tablecloths, napkins, bedspreads, and pillowcases. They undoubtedly will never leave you indifferent. Also, if you are a massive fan of art, you should visit the Organ Hall and the Mihai Eminescu Theatre, located on both sides of the market. 

© iStock/verve231
© iStock/verve231
© iStock/verve231
© iStock/verve231

Tips and tricks for an enjoyable experience

As any crowded place, the Moldavian Arbat should be visited with carefulness. Knowing some tips and tricks will help you not to get conned. As I mentioned before - think of a painting as a picture from the Internet - not every seller is a real artist. So, don't be upset if you see some duplicates at the Arbat market. It happens once in a while. However, some real artists will draw a masterpiece right in front of your eyes. Before you buy something, look through the whole tables and sellers in general - maybe you will find something better and cheaper. Don't hurry, and choose souvenirs very attentively. Be careful with your personal belongings. Our market, like any usual place, has a lot of people who use the "tourist's inattentiveness" and can take something from you. Also, bargain with the sellers! It's a habit that will never "go out of fashion." 

© iStock/Velirina
© iStock/Velirina

What to buy at the Moldavian Arbat?

Of course, the main souvenir to bring back from Moldova is wine! Still, there remains the following question: What else to buy in Moldova? The Moldavian Arbat will help you. You should take a look at the national clothes that you can dress on a sunny day in your homeland, and be original with an embroidered shirt. Another good idea is to buy something for your house - mugs, bowls, teapots, and other kitchen items. These things will bring coziness to your kitchen, especially if you, for example, drink tea with Moldavian honey in it. Fabric dolls and some handmade toys will make the smallest members of your family happy. On the other hand, traditional carpets and blankets - striped, with flowers or geometric patterns, will surely be appreciated by your relatives and friends

© iStock/verve231
© iStock/verve231
© iStock/verve231
© iStock/verve231

The Moldavian Arbat is an excellent place in the center of Chişinău to be visited, especially when you have no idea what to bring from Moldova to your homeland. This folk souvenir market is the ideal place to start your search!


The author

Vladlena Martus

Vladlena Martus

My name is Vladlena and I am originally from Moldova. Currently I’m based in Saint-Petersburg where I study journalism. I love writing, traveling and taking photos, trying to enjoy my life as much as I can!

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