To experience one of the largest open air markets in Uruguay, flea market enthusiasts are advised to head to Feria de Tristan Narvaja in Montevideo. Every week since 1909, thousands of the city’s residents make a pilgrimage here since it seems that all shopping needs are catered for. Feria de Tristan Narvaja also attracts its fair share of tourists too, coming in droves to rummage for coveted treasures or simply soak up the unique atmosphere. Feria de Tristan Narvaja is quite an extraordinary market and truly needs to be seen to be believed.
Feria de Tristan Narvaja is most often described as a flea market, which brings to mind a gathering of vendors selling off second hand wares from their houses. But it is so much more than that. Grocers hawking their local produce as soon as the market opens; exotic and domestic animals sound alarm calls from stacks of cages; enticing scents from the numerous refreshment stalls seemingly dotting every corner of this market that covers more than 20 blocks in the city. And among all this, some fascinating antiques and collectibles.
The large wave of immigration to Uraguay from 1850 onward resulted in many historical European artifacts finding a new home in Montevideo, and many of these antique treasures pop up for sale at Feria de Tristan Narvaja. Visitors can find stunning antique lamps, telephones, old typewriters, artwork, books, clothes both vintage and more modern, smaller pieces of furniture, decorative objects, china ware, old tools, historical newspapers, posters, coins and stamp collections. It is certainly worth dedicating a couple of hours browsing the stalls of Feria de Tristan Narvaja, and getting your hands dirty by poking through the myriad of goods on offer.
It is impossible to see all that Feria de Tristan Narvaja has to offer in one day. Luckily it is a weekly occurrence, with plenty of variety displayed every time. Arriving early means for the best chance of securing bargains and avoiding the largest crowds.
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