Many expats and travelers enjoy wandering around in foreign markets to give them a feel for the culture of the country and discover treasures to buy. I trust you’ve taken careful notes and remember my post here of some months ago about my shopping excursion in the sprawling Makola Market in Accra, Ghana, West Africa and you’ll remember all the wondrous things that can be procured in its many maloderous alleys (thunderstones, dried shrimp, fabric, beads, deep-fried turkey tails, etc.).
This time I want to take you along on a trip to the Vernissage, a fabulous flea market in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, a small country in the Caucasus Mountains. It is a market of a totally different character, which is not surprising as it is located on a different continent and has a different cultural flavor. I must apologize for not having an amusing or scary story to offer along the way, but perhaps the photos will make up for it.
The Vernissage is much more than an ordinary flea market. You can find new things and old things both, junk and real art, fakes and antiques and treasures of all kinds. Among the old items you’ll find out-of-date electronics; spare parts from or for equipment or instruments your great-grandfather might have used; sepia photographs of ancient ancestors dead and forgotten; archaic medical and dental instruments resembling dangerous torture devices; vintage Soviet coins and memorabilia; and leftover lab chemicals as you can see on the photo below.
New merchandise include arts and craft items, souvenirs, socks and sweaters, puppies with bows on their heads, glasses and dishes. The ones below are all blue because, you guessed it, they’re underneath a blue umbrella.
Little old ladies wander around in slippers selling pastries or beautifully crocheted thingies your great-grandmother used to put over the back and arms of chairs. Sadly we have no use for those in our contemporary houses.
And here are some more finds:
Hairdryers, mixers and thingamabobs.
And something underfoot:
And for the mechanically inclined this artsy collection:
Need some art for your walls or shelves?
And let’s not forget the jewelry! So many stalls! So many lovely, odd and artsy adornments! I developed an addiction for the colorful pendants made of natural stone and set in silver. I could never walk past the many displays without admiring Mother Nature’s designs. Here’s what I ended up with:
And of course who can walk past these handbags and not buy one? Or two or three . . . They’re handmade using pieces of old carpeting (or maybe new at times as well). This is my collection. I must admit, I seldom use them, but they look nice as a wall decoration in the hallway!
This is, of course, only a small sampling of the marvels of the Vernissage. I have more to show you so we’ll do another trip another time.
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So where else in the world have you found a great market? And what types of merchandise was/is for sale there? Something gorgeous or fun or weird or scary? What is the most unusual item you’ve ever bought in a market? Or has something interesting happened to you in a market? Make my day and tell me!