The Knee Shops in Sofia | Bulgarian Underground Shops

Street vendors can be found in many cities around the world. Rental prices or the unavailability of affordable commercial spaces mean that these small traders set up tents on the street or in unusual places and in some cases open their trades in basements, as in the city of Sofia, capital of Bulgaria .

The busiest small shops in Bulgarian capital, Customers can only squat or kneel for the things they need

The Knee Shops in Sofia | Bulgarian Underground Shops

Known as klek shop , which means knee shop, these basement shops are unique and unique to the city of Sofia. Generally the stores installed in the basement of the buildings have only a small window at the level of the sidewalk, below the height of a person’s knees, hence the nickname. The products are displayed in the windows around this window and customers need to kneel down to chat with the merchant through the small, low window.


The klek shop owners were among Bulgaria’s first entrepreneurs to open a trade after the fall of communism more than twenty years ago. Legalization of private ownership of production allowed Bulgarians to start their own businesses, and these small shops were the first companies to open the doors commercially.

For most visitors to the capital of Bulgaria, this may seem unusual and even strange, but such shops that survived the boom in the 90s can still be found in the busiest streets of Sofia. A lot of them are strategically located near bus stops. In such stalls you can find snacks, various drinks, cigarettes, and in some even use the services of repairing shoes or laundry.

The basements were turned into shops and people on the sidewalks could buy what they needed, as they sold they sold almost everything from food, drinks, toys to appliances. Colorful glass shelves around the window showed what the store had to offer. In many of these stores, the products in the shop windows were just printed images, with the respective prices on the side.





The Basement Shops of Sofia


Knee Shop in Bulgaria, a new shopping  experience. Customers have to “kneel” to buy




Source: Masterok / Tjfer / Bulgariaobserved / Popupcity / Cluebees /  Photo Credits: Sograph

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