Eastern Europe’s Amazing Container “Mega Malls”

Eastern Europe’s Amazing Container “Mega Malls”
January 16, 2017 Sunel

In Eastern Europe, the concept of using shipping containers as shops is far from new. In fact, the region includes two of the world’s biggest, informal “mega malls” – both consisting entirely of containers.

Seventh Kilometre Market

7 kilo market

© image via Andrew Alborno, Hotspot Media
Closing up shop for night at the Seventh Kilometer Market

Covering a whopping 170 hectares, or 1.7 million square metres, the Seventh Kilometre Market qualifies as one of the largest outdoor markets in the world.

The market lies at the seven-kilometre mark on the highway between Odessa and Ovidiopol – but locals often refer to it as Tolchok, a word that means “shove”. It’s estimated that on average, as many as 150,000 customers use the market each day.

The Seven Kilometre Market consists of double-stacked rows of shipping containers, many of them reclaimed from a bankrupt shipping company.


© image via Andrew Alborno, HotSpot Media
Repairs at the market

Shops housed in the containers sell every item you can think of and more, from clothing and fashion accessories to appliances, toys and sports goods.

To help customers find what they’re looking for in this shopping jungle, containers containing similar merchandise are painted the same colour.


© image via Andrew Alborno, HotSpot Media

The Dordoy Bazaar

The Dordoy Bazaar (also spelled “Dordoi “) in Kyrgyzstan is entirely constructed of containers, harvested from defunct shipping companies.

If you’re imagining a simple dusty flea market though, think again! In 2015, EURASIANET.org reported the Dordoy Bazaar’s estimated annual turnover at an incredible US$3 billion.

According to recent estimates, the Dordoy Bazaar includes as many as 30,000 shipping containers and employs, directly or indirectly, upwards of 150,000 people.

It’s a significant driver of Kyrgyzstan’s economy, and an important gateway for goods en route to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia.

the doroi

© image via The Other Image
Browsing for bargains


The Dordoy Bazaar is divided into multiple separate markets, each specialising in a different type of merchandise. For example, it includes separate markets for electronic equipment, clothing, furniture, automotive parts and shoes.


© image via Vmenkov /Wikimedia
The clothing market, after hours

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