Lifestyle & Culture

Sat., 3 Dec.: UN Women’s Guild Bazaar brings treasures from around the world to Vienna

Perhaps you have heard of the UN Bazaar in Vienna. Perhaps you have not. But if you do go, you’ll be telling everyone that it is something they have to experience. Just as I am telling you now.

The United Nations Women’s Guild Bazaar in Vienna happens once a year, at the beginning of December. This year on Saturday, 3 December, you get to explore the bounty of crafts, presentations, foods, drinks and traditions of 70 of the UN countries represented at the bazaar at the Austria Center Vienna, Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1, 1220 Vienna, Austria

bz2016_banner_aPerhaps you will head there thinking you just want to see for an hour or so what all the hype is about, determined you will not be buying anything.

And then the magic happens and you find yourself going from one country’s stand to the next, wishing you had come even earlier so you can also eat breakfast and lunch there, sampling the food on the lower floor prepared just for this event by representatives from those countries.

Just for the record, the United Nations has 193 member states. Due to the size of the halls – and I imagine the manageability – there are 70 coveted stands.



The countries’ representatives and embassies donate the goods to be sold, ranging from Norwegian print wool hats, scarves and mittens, to colorful fabrics of many African countries, including Namibia, Zambia, Sudan, South Africa, to soup from Aleppo in Syria.

The soup is, unfortunately, no longer being produced due to the conflict that has been raging in that country for 6 years.

Even a person who prefers sleek and classic style such as myself will be fascinated by the colorful rings and necklaces of Colombia and will want to take some of them home.

dsc_9714And be prepared to either enjoy or have a hard time resisting the spirits of Russia, the Ukraine for 1-3 euros per shot, and all the various types of whiskey from the United Kingdom for a similar price.

Italy is known for amazing wine – so of course you can get a glass or two, or even buy a few bottles to take home and give as gifts.

And the food in the hall downstairs beckons with delicacies from all those countries.

A friend of mine brings Tupperware to fill up. You may want to follow suit since you cannot possibly eat in such a short time the cooking from Peru, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain and many of the African countries represented.

Prices are more than acceptable, and the food is home-made for this event.

Remember how I was determined not to buy anything? Forget that.

I scored two bottles of Armenian wine, one bottle of Armenian brandy for 50 euros (when will I ever go there to have a taste?), all for friends, as well as three luxurious silk scarves for family. At 7 euros per piece, where else can you get silk that’s so affordable.

The best part – all the proceeds go towards humanitarian projects selected by the UN Women’s Guild. You get to see at the bazaar which ones received funding from the proceeds of the bazaar from the year before.

Christmas cards made using tea bags

dsc_9779We all have dear and important people in our lives to whom we want to send Christmas cards. Make sure you check out the stand with the card made by hand by Ingrid Zalneva, her daughter Katarina and her mother, as well as group of friends.

They use tea bags to fold in creative ways and make one-of-a-kind art pieces. Each costs only 2 euros and you even get a complimentary bag with five different tea sorts donated by a sponsor company. Last year it was Teekanne.



Ingrid Zalneva, her daughter and her mother donate their time and also some of their money to create cards. And they give all the proceeds to the UN Women’s Guild to fund projects benefiting children.

“I prefer to support something we have feedback on. We know where the money is going,” Ingrid said at last year’s bazaar. She had spent almost 10 months making what appeared to be more than a hundred cards.

Her mother contributed with her crochet work on the cards. Neighbors brought over the packages from the tea bags. It was a community effort. I could not resist buying about 8 of those cards. And I got quite a bit of tea to go with them.

How perfect if by my buying those cards I make the recipient of the Christmas cards happy and it benefits an education or another project for children who are not as well off and live in poor parts of the world.

As for Ingrid and her family, the first thing after the bazaar is to take a month of from the card-making. And then start creating the ones for the next bazaar.

So how giving will you be this coming year with your time and money?

Ingrid and her family set a great example for all of us.

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