Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
Northport, New York
August 29, 2002
Although it will seem harsh - do not give handouts to beggars, especially in busy tourist places such as Arbat street. A person I was traveling with did give some money to a beggar - a few minutes later he was mobbed by a score of children (all under 10 years old) who were babbling at him. After they finally left him alone, his money was missing. They had seen where he kept his money when he gave some to the beggar and easily took it in the confusion. (I'm not as cynical as others who said the two were working together).
The souvenirs can be bargained down significantly, though most boxes and other fine art collectibles are counterfeits. For memories they are fine, but if you are really expecting a high quality collectible go to museum shops.
The street is loaded with Soviet items, from hats to statues, flags and even submarine clocks.
At least for myself, the haggling got to be obnoxious and buying things was not fun but rather a chore that I dreaded. Towards the end of the day I was hoping to not see anything I liked, so I wouldn't get annoyed trying to buy it.
In the end though, it is almost mandatory to go to Arbat when in Moscow. If you want to read about all the good parts of Arbat go to another journal, I don't regret going, but I won't be rushing back.
From journal A Student's Year in Moscow
by j. kathleen
May 4, 2002
It is the best place we found in Russia for people watching. There were people there from all walks of life. We saw a group of off duty sailors with blood alcohol levels that were off the chart. They were wearing traditional Russian sailor uniforms (they looked like Popeye - quite entertaining).
Arbat Street is the artist district as well. In good weather you will find portrait artists lined up in the streets. In inclement weather they set up their easles in the passageways under the street. The artists all have samples of their work displayed. This has got to be the best bargin in all of Russia. You can have a charcoal portrait drawn for $25 - $35. A mall near our house has a similar Russian artist who charges over $200 for a small picture. They can also make a high quality drawing from a photo.
Restaurants and bars line the streets as well. We ate at an "Italian" restaurant. We ordered a small pizza and a calzone and paid over $50. We were there on a Saturday night and we had to walk a long time to find a restaurant that was open. (Russians don't quite get capitaliam yet. They close when they want to and didn't take the throngs of people looking for somewhere to eat into consideration.)
From journal Weekend in Moscow
March 30, 2002
The shops were filled with some beautiful Russian items. It was nice to look at some of these items. Of course, before purchasing larger items remember to find out if you are able to take it out of the country. There are many things that are forbidden to take out of Russia. Many of the older and even larger items have this restriction.
From journal The Mysterious Land of Russia: Moscow
November 3, 2001
From journal Marvelous Moscow
pawling, New York
November 2, 2000
From journal moscow-the greatest city in Europe
September 1, 2000
The very name 'Arbat' is not only very old but is also very unusal. The name was derived from merchants who traded with Oriental countries back in the early 14th and 15th Centuries and who designated the suburbs where they lived and carried out commercial activities the 'Arbat'. Unfortunately the old wooden structures that were of that era burned down in a series of fires. During the latter half of the 18th Century the nobility of the city forced the merchants out of the area and turned it into the most prestigious area to live. It was not until 100 years later that the richest merchants returned and turned the area back into a center of business activity. One thing is sure, you will not only be able to find anything under the sun there that can be purchased in Russia, but you will find it in the most interesting circumstances that you can imagine.
From journal Moscow City of Power