Why should you do street shopping in Yerevan? Because it offers the most authentic and unpolished experience one can find. Street shopping has been practiced in this area of the world for centuries. So, if you love shopping and you love traveling, let’s combine the two together to explore real Armenia. Although Yerevan has many street markets worth visiting, I selected three that I think you shouldn’t miss. At the end, I’ll also give you one important tip for street shopping in Yerevan. So, stick around!
When you find yourself in one of these markets, it is truly fascinating to see all the colors of fruit and vegetables, products and produce that smell so real and authentic. If after reading this post you decide to visit these markets, share your experience with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I love hearing from my readers! Ok, here we go… My selection of best markets for street shopping in Yerevan.
Malatia Trade Market: where street shopping in Yerevan should start!
Malatia Trade Market is the largest street market in Yerevan. It starts from Sebastia Street and, covering an area of enormous size, reaches Jivani Street. As the name suggests, it is situated in the Malatia-Sebastia district.
Locals, as well as tourists, also recognize it as Bangladesh market. It was given this name due to its original distance from other districts of the city. So, back then if you wanted to visit it, it felt like a journey to Bangladesh (a far away country). Since then Yerevan grew a lot, so nowadays Malatia market is not really that remote. However, you might still want to call a taxi to get there. If that’s the case you can learn how to do it in my post about taxi apps in Armenia.
Shop for fruit and vegetables at Malatia market…
Malatia Trade Market offers a great variety of different products. I recommend starting your exploration from the agricultural market section (click the link to see it on Google maps). Head to the side of the market that’s closer to Sebastia street. You might find yourself extremely confused once you reach the end of the agricultural market. That’s simply because of the vast assortment and all the crazy colors you see there. But brace yourself, this is just the beginning!
… and get lost between the sections of this market
The clothing market, the second largest part, is waiting for you. It starts roughly where you reach Jivani street. The two parts are also accompanied by the gold market (Malatia Vosku Shuka), a few mini restaurants, household goods market, and much more. As you are exploring the market, boldly cross Raffi street and you’ll realize that the market continues further to the North. That part is called Bangladeshi Bazar (click the link to see it on Google maps). And yes, the wide Raffi street divides the whole market into two major sections. Because the modern infrastructure shouldn’t limit traditional trade. 😊
So, Malatia Trade Market is like a small city in the city. If you really want to feel the atmosphere of a traditional Armenian market with all its colors, smell, and messiness, then you should visit Malatia. The market functions 24/7. In fact, I find it particularly fascinating at night, around 4 AM, when the farmers just start arriving from nearby villages. So, for the best street shopping experience in Yerevan, definitely check this market out.
GUM Market: where most travelers go for street shopping
GUM market, or Gumi Shuka, as locals call it, is another must-visit spot if you want to experience authentic street shopping in Yerevan. It is open only between 11 AM and 5 PM (but daily), so plan your visit accordingly. You can find it in 35, Khorenatsi Street, a central street, at only about 500 meters distance from Zoravar Andranik metro station or Rossia Mall. By the way, if you are planning to use Yerevan metro, follow that link to my detailed post about our subway system. It will help you to ensure your transit in the city is quick and hustle-free.
You can find a large variety of fresh and pickled vegetables, as well as fresh and dried fruit, jams and different kinds of honey here. If you want to taste and buy traditional Armenian sweet sujuk (syrup-coated walnuts) or basturma (cured ham) – this is the best place to buy those. The thing is, here you’re shopping from the actual people who made these delicious treats. You can buy all those agricultural products right from the farmers who come there early in the morning and spend the whole day at the market.
I also recommend you buying spices from here, in bulk, and bringing them back home as presents. Side note, you can find more tips on shopping for souvenirs in Yerevan in my post about different places for souvenir shopping and in the one where I focused on Yerevan’s souvenir shops specifically.
The selection of Armenian cheese you can find at GUM market will make you agree that it is a real heaven for any foodie. Moreover, most vendors will probably try to offer you to taste their produce. So, even if you don’t buy anything, which is hardly possible, the unforgettable taste and aroma of Armenian produce will stay with you! In fact, I always try to go there hungry, because I know I’ll inevitably leave the market feeling full. But I also want to encourage you to buy stuff here, don’t be a free-loader! 🙂
I really recommend you checking out David’s video on his travel vlog, where he goes to the GUM market and gets overwhelmed by the amount of food he gets to taste there.
Surmalu market and Petak: crazy mishmash market
Surmalu is a large open-air market in 15, Arshakunyats Avenue. It includes many small pavilions alongside traditional street shopping kiosks. Here you can find absolutely everything! It’s a true mishmash of random stuff – jewelry, cosmetics, clothing and accessories, toys, stationery, tableware and even home decor and household items. It’s crazy!
What is also good about Surmalu is that the prices are really cheap. Definitely much cheaper than in any shop or supermarket around the city. That’s where the real value of street shopping in Yerevan is – saving money! Hehe, I’m kidding, of course it’s about the atmosphere.
Just next to Surmalu market, you can find another similar shopping spot – Petak. As opposed to Surmalu, Petak is a closed market and resembles a mall. The prices and the atmosphere, however, are pretty much the same. So, choose the one that is more appealing for you, or visit both. They both operate between 9 AM and 7 PM, daily.
Tip for the best street shopping experience
So, what else not to forget while enjoying your street shopping in Yerevan? I kept one very important tip to the end of this post. 🙂 Don’t forget to bargain when shopping at these markets. It is a part of the street shopping culture in Armenia, so join the game. Be as theatrical as you can. Just smile and push for the price you want, and, most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the process! Last but not least, if you like the idea of visiting this kind of authentic places, check out my posts about unique places and cheap shopping in Yerevan. I think you might like them!
Well, that’s it – these were the main markets I recommend for street shopping in Yerevan. I hope this post helped you make your choice and plan your shopping endeavors better. If it did, please let me know! For example, tweet or instagram your pictures from these markets to me with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I love hearing from you guys! Enjoy street shopping.
Featured image credit: It’s mine! I guess you can tell. 🙂