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Ochis Story 03: Haymarket

This is a story about the Haymarket as a place of power and the importance of loving what you do.


The legends about the Haymarket (Sinnyi Rynok) live to this day — it used to be a place where the people of Kyiv would find all kinds of unique things and outstanding professionals. Sellers on “Senka” truly belonged in this place and were eager to share their passions with others. Visitors came with a wide variety of requests, but always found a response: bicycles, stamps, antiquities, sculptures, clothes, coins, home appliances and even food were waiting for their new owners here. It seemed that in this bustling place you could find absolutely anything one could wish for.


Author is unknown.


It was here that Kolya received the fame of a great master. When buyers came to him and complained about the breakage of their old favorite glasses, he not only sold them new eyewear but offered to fix the previous ones. Together with Olya, Kolya and Max, small machines and optical equipment were being moved to one rented apartment after another. Persistent hard work and a sincere desire to help people instead of just making money attracted life-long clients to Kolya.

And the clients were indeed very diverse, because even back then he was searching for strange and unusual frames, helping to find something unique and cool as well as importing eyewear by Gianfranco Ferre, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Dior from abroad. Unsurprisingly, the buyers were predominantly creative bohemians — local artists, intellectuals, fashionistas looking to stand out, as well as visiting foreigners. When they came to Kolya's shop, they always stayed to chat.

Max, who was growing up amid this vibrant atmosphere, quickly realized that the key to success is a sincere love for what you do. On one of his birthdays, he received 50 hryvnias as a gift from his grandmother, which then seemed to him an incredible amount of money. It had allowed him to buy a whole package of glasses from his parents. 

Haymarket Inside

Author is unknown.


On the stairs at the side entrance to the Haymarket 10-year-old Max sold his first pair of glasses and learned that making money and communicating with customers was not easy — it was a whole new art form.

Sadly, in 2005 “Senka” was demolished, but for the history of Ochis, just like for many Kyivites in general, this place remains to be iconic.


To find out where our heroes ended up next, follow the stories section.