50,000 sq.m. flea market

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Prague can spoil tourist's journeys by being so darn beautiful; nothing else quite measures up aesthetically as you careen across Europe. But, like any place, it has its warts. We sought out an infamous 50,000 sq meter flea market last weekend, hopping on the yellow line at Karlovo Namesti and getting off at Kolbenova - in a very decayed industrial area. All rusty edges and crumbling cement and layers of grime. Gritty was an understatement - but it did hold a delightful cache of bargains.



Both BW and I love junk shops and antique markets, so we figured a trip to the Kolbenova flea market would be a win. In particular, I was on the lookout for set pieces for our Fall school play. It was 20kc to enter.


The place was bustling - with both buyers and sellers - but it started to empty around noon even though it's advertised as being open until 2 p.m.; apparently you have to get there at 7 a.m. for fresh pickings. Hot items seemed to be oriental rugs and luggage.


Some sellers had proper booths set up, and others just paid to drive their cars in, lay down blankets and plunk their treasures right on top.


Some of the offerings we saw:
-Mountains of shoes for 50kc ($2.50) a pair - if you could find a matching pair
-A guy selling 5 accordians
-Lots of old bulk food, like huge cans of green olives and boxes of chocolate wafers
-Great, cheap art. Loads of paintings for 300kc ($15) and less
-Communist hat pins and buttons
-A table of pickaxes, hatchets and laundry detergent


There were a lot of treasures, but also a fair amount of filth strewn about and some moth-eaten people. In fact, a huge sign at the entrance advises you to watch your valuables and has pictures posted with the Czech word for "thieves" above them. Nonetheless, I'd stow away your coins and check the place out.


If you go, the address is Kolbenova 9a in Prague 9. It's open Saturdays and Sundays from 7a.m. to 2p.m. - but go early. Bring cash (no credit cards accepted) and a 20kc coin to get through the turnstyles. 

You can get there by metro as we did on our "to" journey, but going "fro" we hopped on the number 16 tram and got a neat view over the train and tram tracks through that part of the city.


And, as much as I like bargains and a bit of grit, it was nice when the tram pulled into our neighborhood. I should've bought a painting to bring with us, though. Next time.




Linking up with Pack Me To, Chasing the Donkey, A Southern Gypsy, The Fairytale Traveler and Ice Cream & Permafrost!

8 comments

  1. When I moved to Prague, I lived about a block away from this flea market! So this was really Alex's first taste of the city.... and as you can imagine, he wasn't sure what kind of country I dragged him to :) This flea market is sorta fun though... I think I might stop by next weekend to see if I can find anything decent. Did you find anything for your play?

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  2. Oh, bless! That would be a bit of a shock ;) When I came for the first time 9 years ago to do my student teacher training, I lived in a panelak in the most depressing area on the edge of the city; it took an hour to get to school!
    I didn't end up buying anything (was looking for furry hats, a brass spittoon and an old vanity), but I'd like to go back sometime for the cheap rugs. If you're interested, there's also an amazing little junk shop in my neighborhood: http://www.bazarpj.cz/. I've found amazing deals there and would offer to take you myself but the in-laws will be in town and we're going to Cesky Krumlov next weekend.

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  3. Oh wow.... you've one-upped me, hah. Living in a panelak would really "discolor" the Prague experience a little bit. We almost moved into one here, actually! Dodged that bullet. But it's kind of interesting to know how life is on the outskirts of Prague as well... it makes you stronger, or something like that. What kind of training was it, if not ESL? That's quite interesting...
    I will try to make it to that shop... if not next weekend then definitely another time. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  4. Hahah, I love flea markets :)
    Maybe here in Central Europe we don't have such long traditions of trading on Flea Markets (as e.g. Brussels or the Netnerlands), but there are a few quite nice ones :)

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  5. This reminds me exactly of the semi-legal markets here in Russia. They're always a bit scary but if you can past the grit and crap you can occasionally find some wins.

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  6. I love the mannequin - like she's having a hard time choosing, she's so excited about that book collection! haha ;)

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  7. ...Pickaxes, hatches, and laundry detergent???...Such a weird combo...

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  8. Haha, you definitely find a lot of randomness at flea markets! I haven't been to any in central Europe but went to a few in Brussels and the Netherlands which were pretty cool.

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