Market Friday: Apraksin Dvor Market



The century before last (I mean the 19th century) there were many similar market places and in our city and in other cities. Markets were arranged in a similar way: small one- and two-storey stores, store rooms, sheds for outdoor sales, horse-racks and places for carts parking... The 20th century changed the view of such markets greatly enough: small stores were taken down and huge sales halls were built in their place, the function of existing buildings changed too. But the Apraksin Dvor market has a different story.



The market quarter appeared in the 18th century and occupied a vast area between the Fontanka River and Sadovaya Street in the Central district of the city. Part of the area belonged to Count Apraksin, to him the market owes its name. Here were traded everything: agricultural products, textiles, books, and works of art. Trade was carried out both in wholesale and retail, and the wholesale turnover of the market was one of the largest in Europe.

Sadovaya Street. The Central Building of the Apraksin Dvor Market. 1910. Postcard from the publisher V. Pfister

The streets of the Apraksin Dvor market still retain names that remind us of that time: Apple Square, Berry Passage, Fruit Line, Sukonny Line, Moskatnaya Line.

Apraksin Dvor, 1924. Unknown photographer

But after the revolution of 1917 trade in Apraksin Dvor ceased. For some time city residents traded by hand, but then these trades ceased as well. Other markets of the city provided their trading space for the products of collective farms and gardeners, but Apraksin Dvor simply closed down. Some of the buildings were used as warehouses, others were simply closed - and forgotten about for many decades.

Apraksin Dvor Market, 1969. Scan of the negative from prostislav1's archive

I remember the deserted area of Apraksin Dvor as it was when I was a child. Nearby, on the Fontanka embankment, is the Bolshoi Drama Theater. It was one of the most popular theaters in the city, and tickets were very hard to get, but sometimes we managed to do it. I have a great memory of going home in the evening after the performances. One had to walk through the deserted Apraksin Street, along the diabase paved streets, past rare streetlamps and empty buildings, with not a single person in sight - only the moon high in the sky was our companion.



Everything changed dramatically in the early 1990s, when socialism was replaced by wild capitalism.New entrepreneurs took over the Apraksin Yard and started selling everything here, from socks to alcohol. Goods were imported from abroad or made here, in the cellars. Clothes were tried on right in the street and cardboard was laid on the sidewalk for customers' convenience.



The Apraksin Dvor quickly gained a reputation as the most evil place in our city.Smuggled and forbidden goods were sold here, and crooks and pickpockets "worked" there. No one would think of going through this market at night now, lest they catch an accidental bullet or be a witness to a gangster's showdown.



Fortunately, those wild times didn't last too long, and in the new millennium the market became a quieter place. But until now, Apraksin Dvor remains a cheap clothing market, and these rows of stores look untidy.



In the center of the Apraksin Dvor market there is a fire station. It appeared here back in the days when most of the buildings were wooden and fires were frequent.




The issue of the reconstruction of the area is being addressed now, and I think that soon this market will be closed for renovation. But for now it continues to work, and I walked around the rows with my smartphone in hand to take a picture of it.



From the side of Sadovaya Street, the market looks more pleasant. Along the building stretches a gallery of small stores. I took a picture of one of the ads - I thought it was funny how quickly the advertisers used a fresh social media meme. In the original meme, the cats are standing around the fish counter, wondering if anyone will sell them this beautiful product.


SmartphoneXiaomi Redmi 3
LocationSaint Petersburg, Russia

This is my entry for the #marketfriday challenge by @dswigle.


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В Питере до сих пор есть такие развалы одежды? Разрешают так торговать?


Даже ларьки почти везде снесли, но этот рынок как заколдованный:)


@tatdt ! Wow! That used to be such a beautiful space in yesteryear, wasn't it? So upscale and a place I would love to shop. There were many good things that came from the demise of socialism, but, the growing pains to get where it is was very painful for the country. I am sure, in some ways, it still is for the older generation.

That is close to the Bolshoi? It is hard to save a piece of real estate once it starts on that slippery slope down. The only thing to do is close it and have a total renovation. Of course, the only problem with that is that the people that are there now won't be able to afford the rent.

Such an interesting place and I am truly enamored with your posts and your views. It is so different to see how you see things from the inside looking out. A more accurate view of things. Thank you so much. Always.

I love the concept of #MarketFriday and how our cultures differ and then again, how much they are alike. Rituals, Festivals, food, architecture, even your language/languages. Along with the fact of what is normal for where you live? These are unwritten rules that rule our social behaviors. I see this as allowing for increased tolerance between cultures and nations, and opportunities to come together on an even playing ground. A strong culture can be beneficial to a country as it promotes unity, especially during a crisis, peaceful debate, and open dialogue. I had hoped that posting here will familiarize you with the world around you just a little bit more. Viewing it from a more personal level as opposed to the newsworthy level gives me a better understanding of the people and a view that is often not seen on television. Sometimes, it seems like I learn more on some social media about a certain incident than what the news tells me.

I appreciate the amazing support given to #MarketFriday! Thank you! Your participation adds a piece of your world, and I have to say, people are interested in seeing it. This entire challenge has opened up the world to me and so many others. Thank you again for being a part of all this! I am so happy to see you here! I hope you have a fabulous day! Hive on!!

Fridays are all about the #MarketFriday Challenge! Looking to take part in it? Here is how: I put this in for those reading your post, so they will know the rules.

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  1. Go to the market, or anywhere that you pay money for a service.
    Take pictures! Be creative!
  2. Tell us a little bit about the market or the event. What brought you there? What did you buy? How much did it cost?
  3. Post the picture(s) Of course, you should tell a little bit about the ones you post
  4. Use the MarketFriday Community Platform to post #hive-196308 (this is not required, but appreciated)
  5. Drop the link into the MarketFriday comment section so I can find it
  6. Following me and reblogging the post so more see it would be appreciated !! Not a rule, just appreciated, more vision for more views on your posts!
  7. You must put #MarketFriday by @dswigle somewhere on your post. If you don't and someone reads it, there is nothing to tie #MarketFriday to that post.
  8. Please only one post each week. Believe it not, I run out of voting power if you put in many more than that.

As always, please remember! #MarketFriday loves you!

Upped and reposted


It is still a very beautiful place, only the beauty is hidden from us. There will definitely be a renovation, and I really hope that after the renovation, walking down these alleys will be a great pleasure:)

The collapse of socialism is a very difficult topic. Socialism in Russia was forcibly introduced and it was devoid of soil: an economy based on ideals does not work well. Many mistakes were made and there was a time when these mistakes were attempted to be corrected through crime. But this whole period, this attempt to build an ideal society in isolation from reality, was a huge collective experience that is not yet understood, not realized.

Thank you very much for your comment! I love #MarketFriday, it's very interesting to read stories from different countries.