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Shopping in Bulgaria


Most head for TZUM, a relatively small modern shopping mall opposite the Sheraton, or the boutiques lining Vitosha Boulevard – Sofia's main shopping street. Hristo Botev street runs parallel to Vitosha and has better bargains, like Decade which stocks locally produced cotton leisure wear, and Rumi Factory Outlet where you can pick up relatively cheap Bulgarian leather products. Inveterate shoppers should also include a wander down Graf Ignatief and Tsar Ivan Shishman streets – fashionistas looking for local designs make a beeline for the bohemian creations at Atelie Mirela Bratova, peruse the collections at Magazine No 10 or, if you prefer a more quirky take, keep going to 525.

Pirotska (near Tzum, opposite the mosque) is another popular shopping street, and as it's pedestrianized a more pleasant experience than Vitosha Boulevard; stroll down here or head north after a few blocks to get to the Zhenski Pazar – stepping into this open-air market after Vitosha and Pirotska feels like time travel, with the clientele picking through heaps of fresh produce a century away from their high-heeled counterparts perusing the racks in glitzy boutiques.

If the weather is fine, head to the Alexander Nevski Square Flea Market. This open-air arts and crafts flea market in front of the Cathedral and St. Sofia Church is the best place to browse for bargain-priced icons (though not equally so; don't buy at the first stall). Also on offer are embroidered tablecloths, Russian dolls, knitted socks, handmade toys, ceramics, various carved items and so-called antiques (coins, uniforms, medals), many dating from the Communist era.




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