The Starokonnyi Rynok (одесский барахолка староконный рынок) or Starokonka market is a truly unique place not only for Odessa but also for the whole Ukraine. It is the largest permanent open-air flea market in Ukraine, also called “baraholka” or барахолка (“barahlo” means “junk” in Ukrainian). Only here one can, in one day, buy antiques, admire exotic aquarium fish and colorful parrots, pet puppies and kittens, listen to fishing stories of famous fishermen and buy something useful for repairs.
Weather permitting, every Saturday and Sunday from about 9 am to 3 pm, the Old Market expands; in the streets adjacent to the market, pensioners, collectors and antique dealers display their old junk on the ground or on the bonnets of cars. Grandparents open their woodsheds, take old objects out of the attics and display them. There is a special atmosphere here. People also come here to chat, discuss news, improve their financial and psychological well-being.
In these difficult times for Ukraine, the Starokonny flea market helps many people to find clothes and other useful items for little money. Starokonny is really the equivalent of a second-hand or clearance shop. In addition to old clothes, one can find vintage toys, crockery, dinnerware, household items, taxidermized animals, vinyl records, coins, religious artifacts, postcards and souvenirs from all over the world, which have been brought by Ukrainian sailors for many years. There are many items made in the Soviet Union such as militaria, as well as items dating back to when Odessa was part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century.
The Starokonny flea market is also a meeting place for hipsters looking for retro clothing, military style, Soviet shoes, original accessories, vintage leather briefcases, or stylish vintage cameras. Creative people and artists, such as writers, photographers and designers, come here to find inspiration. They are attracted to old and second-hand objects, as they contain history, memories, and a piece of someone’s life.
You can find old books, old Christmas decorations, music plates and the old toy soldiers of our childhood, which are now a joy for the little ones. The Starokonny flea market is also full of architectural salvage such as typical 19th century Odessa doors, door handles and other old door fittings. Those looking for more specialized items such as deer antlers for the interior, a piece of elastic for a fishing spear or accessories for an 80s style party will undoubtedly find their happiness at the Starokonny flea market. As you can see, leaving Starokonny empty-handed is almost impossible!