Vernissage is an open-air market in Yerevan which is well known not only in Armenia, but also throughout the world. The place is good especially if you want to go shopping in Armenia as well as come visit Yerevan for a travel.
Yerevan is a city full of surprises.
So, if during your walks in Yerevan you see artists, tourists or just curious people crowded together discussing and bargaining something in a friendly way, then congrats: you are definitely in Vernissage.
Discovering Vernissage might be a perfect and full cultural experience for you especially you want to find out about shopping in Yerevan during your travel here.
It’s a unique way of Yerevan shopping, which hardly can ever be found somewhere else.
What is Vernissage?
You can see the Vernissage market with its full colors and attraction especially on Saturdays and Sundays.
The word “vernissage” has a French origin, which means the private show or preview of an art exhibition before the official one.
The history of Armenian Vernissage comes from far 1980-s, when a group of painters started displaying their paintings. They did it on purpose of catching buyers’ attention and sell their works.
At first they displayed their paintings in Martiros Saryan park, in front of State Conservatory named after Komtas. So, at the beginning there were only paintings displayed. However, the park was too small and there was a need for a larger place.
Now Vernissage is a huge open air market, where you can find literally everything, including souvenirs, jewelry, carpets, dolls, needlework, carved wood, books etc. Vernissage is now divided into several parts: the largest one is the arts and craft part.
This is the unique and the most colorful part of the market. Here you can find paintings, handmade souvenirs and jewelry, carpets and a lot of other things, which you were looking for, and couldn’t find in other places.
Paintings with Mount Ararat are the most typical ones met in Vernissage. A lot of handmade things will become a great opening for you. Men will be interested in carved wood works. They will be glad to find wooden handmade accessories perfect for their workplace desk.
It will definitely be such a peculiar piece, that they can freely boast about it to their friends. Women will be especially astonished by the jewelry part.
The breathtaking variety will drive every woman crazy. Sometimes it might even take a great effort for the men to convince their women to leave Vernissage.
Vernissage is located in Aram and Buzand streets. It starts with the Republic square metro station and ends with Vardan Mamikonyan statue.
The cheapest ways to get there are metro and public transport, which cost 100 drams.
You can also take a taxi. Taxi is relevantly cheeper in Armenia then in other countries.
Those who prefer metro, will have no difficulty in finding it. The others on buses, cars or bicycles will also easily find it. All they need, is to reach Khanjyan street.
Even if you cannot find the exact location after all, ask anyone. The word “vernissage” will be enough for people to understand you, and willingly help you to find it. Vernissage is open during all seasons, whether it’s hot, cold, or rainy weather.
So, go shopping there and find something that fascinates you!
If you want to see it with its full beauty, you had better visit it on weekends. Vernissage is relevantly passive on weekdays. Working hours are not fixed. Mainly it opens from the early morning and is active till 5-6 pm.
When entering the market, you feel completely new atmosphere. The atmosphere is warm and full of art on each step. There is such a huge range of things, that a few hours can hardly be enough to complete your small trip in Vernissage.
You can also find lot of old technical stuff there. There are many things coming from times of Soviet Union, which have survived till our days. There can even be things, the existence of which the humanity has already forgotten. This old stuff also gives special coloring and uniqueness to Vernissage.
Vernissage: Art of Bargaining! Maybe good for shopping?
Vernissage is full of original things, which may be difficult to find in any other places. When you are looking for something, be sure you will listen to long descriptions of every item you are just paying the slightest attention.
It seems like the sellers have special gift of understanding what exactly you are looking for. They are very friendly and always willing to help.
There is also a very unique culture that everyone who comes to Armenia must learn immediately. It is called bargain culture. Some sellers may have a brilliant rhetorical talent. They will be able to persuade you about the exclusive price of their product.
After a long description, you will be convinced, that you will never find such an exclusive offer anywhere else. But don’t give up so easily. Suggest them to lower the price. This will make them know that you are well aware of Armenian prices, even though you are not local.
As most sellers at Vernissage don’t have perfect skills in English, sometimes they may even know only a few English phrases, such us ”good handmade” or ”100% silver work”.
Even though their English is not excellent, there is no need for being confused. They understand their buyers better than any other English speaker.
What to Buy in Vernissage? Find some souvenirs during your travel
As it was already mentioned above, there is a large variety of products in Vernissage. However, there are some specific ones this market is famous for. Here are some of them.
Vernissage is a great place for purchasing paintings. The place where paintings are located is called French park. The park is always full of people. Some of them are tourists, others are locals.
There’s a large choice of paintings. They differ by their styles, sizes and of course, prices. It’s very profitable to buy paintings in Vernissage, as sellers are also the painters, or they may be at least their siblings.
So, it makes the bargaining process much easier, because it gives you an opportunity to consult directly with them.
Books in Vernissage may be one of the most profitable things to purchase there. Those who are interested in literature and even the book worms will be startled, as they will probably find something, that they haven’t read yet.
By the way, you can not only buy books there, but also sell your old ones. Book sellers occupy a large area of the market.
Books are mainly in 3 languages: Armenian, English and Russian. Literature varies a lot, starting from fiction till professional literature. Books sold there are mainly second hand books.
Although, they are in a good condition and may even not differ from a fresh book, the prices differ immensely. In comparison with bookstores, you will find books in Vernissage almost for a half price.
When you are already done with buying things for yourself, there comes the time for gifts. Here you will find various handmade artworks from wood, ceramics etc.
Souvenirs in vernissage include unique cultural elements of Armenia, such as pomegranate, Mount Ararat or even Armenian flag.
They will be perfect as a present for your friends from traveling to Yerevan and will always remind you about the marvelous and colorful travel to Armenia.
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