7 KM (7 Kilometer) Market, OdessaMarch 15, 2009
The 7 KM (7 Kilometer) Market is probably the most famous market in Ukraine.
It is called 7Km because it covers an area of……….7Km. Very imaginative I know. It is almost 7 Km from the City Centre too. The bus which takes you to this market is the number 7……bloody practical these Ukrainians…..or maybe just easily confused!!
You would think, that covering such a large area, the market is spread out and easily navigable. You would of course, be completely wrong. It is packed tighter than the contents of a male stripper’s G string or Pamela Anderson’s bikini top!! It is a maze….a rat run….a labyrinth, made up of steel containers (like those for bulk shipments you would see on a cargo ship) stacked 2 high, side by side, covering the entire area.
I know, why 2 high? Well the top one is used for storage and the bottom one is a walk in shop/display.
It is so big that the main thoroughfares actually have street names, despite the fact that with a crane and numerous trucks, within a few days it would look like an abandoned patch of land.
The market is always busy. No matter what time of year, what the temperatures are, there will be thousands of people mirroring the activities of lab rats in a maze seeking out that “special piece of cheese”. It can be unbearable to all but the most dedicated shopper and bargain hunter at times. (Personally, I would rather remove my own eyes with a spoon than go there in the height of summer…….not that “she that must be obeyed” gives me the choice).
The market is so big that it has it’s own police……..not that this stops a very lucrative trade in “snide” or counterfeit goods of course.
Not everything sold here is counterfeit or knock-off but a good proportion of it is. There are some real bargains to be had but also there are some prices which mirror that of those in the City Centre…….so beware, it can be a case of caveat emptor!
It is, however, a great place to pick up those things you left behind when attempting to keep under your baggage allowance with the airline. You can get very cheap T-shirts, towels, swim wear, jeans, shoes…..the list is endless here. You can also buy fur-coats, kitchen utensils, ironing boards and anything else which may take your fancy.
There are one or two things to be wary of:
You will find men literally ramming full or empty trolleys through the crowds from one container to another with complete disregard to the well-being of your legs and ankles. There is nowhere to sit (unless you come by car) if you need a rest. There is no restaurant or cafe there……..but there is a steady stream of Babooshka’s running up and down the alleyways selling luke warm coffee, tea and fruit juice from their trolley…….together with sandwiches (for the brave) or chocolate, chips/crisps and other general “munchies”.
As with any place with thousands of people bumping into each other in a confined space, keep a hold of your wallet/keep your handbag shut……..just in case! It has never happened to me, anyone I know and I have never heard of it happening to anyone BUT I am sure it has and does happen when people from all over Russia, Ukraine and Turkey specifically come to this market……it’s not like you have to be vetted to go there after all…..that’s bad for business.
Invariably, you do not get a receipt if you don’t ask for one. The “black” economy is rife in Ukraine and no more prevalently than at 7Km. Everybody in Ukraine loves cash. Nothing but cash is accepted at 7Km. There is no Visa/MasterCard facility with any trader………..and there are no cheques in Ukraine anywhere. Not one Ukrainian I know has even seen a “cheque” or “cheque book” and would certainly never accept one!.
There is little else to say about 7Km…….other than if you go there by bus, be careful about what and how much you buy…….as you got to get it home again by bus, which, considering everyone else has done the same as you, can make it a somewhat “uncomfortable” journey.