Visiting Russia’s capital for only couple of days, especially when being on a busy business trip, may often not allow one to see much of this vast megacity and its many sights. Even buying souvenirs for family and friends back home can become a little challenging when not leaving the city centre, because Moscow’s most famous and largest souvenir market at Izmaylovsky park is several metro stations away.
By the way the closest metro station is not Izmaylovskaya but Partizanskaya which was actually known as Izmaylovsky Park until 2005. The little souvenir stalls near the kremlin’s main entrance offer very ugly Matryoshka dolls, the typical Russian stack dolls, and other little things. Like the souvenir vendors on Old Arbat Street and inside the GUM at Red Square, they are way overpriced. Sparrow Hills, where the bridal couples come on Saturdays, is quite a good location to buy matryoshkas or wooden toys, but also some kilometers out of the inner garden ring.
In my opinion the best location to buy postcards, English language souvenir books and maps is the Москва book store, almost opposite of the Moscow city hall on Tverskaya Street. My favorite souvenir shop, which I can strongly recommend, is very small stall in the underground walkway close to the Russian Ministry for foreign affairs to the little traffic island on the other side. Underneath the boulevard ring, closer to the exit to the traffic island, one can find reasonably priced souvenirs like lacquer boxes, matryoshkas and more. A friendly, young and dark-haired lady stands here most of time and speaks some broken English. In contrary to many other souvenir vendors all prices are also indicated behind the shop window.