Russian souvenirs, or 10 main gifts from Russia

Russian souvenirs

Matryoshka, vodka and caviar — this is what most often comes to mind first when we talk about Russian souvenirs. But Russia is a country famous for its diversity in all areas. There is a large selection of original, beautiful, useful memorable gifts for every taste, size and color in Russia. Let us tell you about the most interesting ones.

Wooden souvenirs

Матрёшка (matryoshka)

Cheap, light in weight (which can be very important when packing a suitcase), and fun souvenir. Both adults and children will like it. In general, a matryoshka doll is not one doll, but a whole set of beautifully colored toys of decreasing size, stacked one into another. Usually the total number of dolls is around 5-6 figures.

In addition to traditional matrioshkas, you can also find modern versions of these dolls with images of famous pop stars, celebrities and politicians.

Did you know that many believe: if you put a note with a wish in a matryoshka doll, it will come true? — А вы знаете, что многие верят: если в матрёшку положить записку с желанием, то оно сбудется?

Хохломская роспись (Khokhloma)

Khokhloma

Khokhloma originated in the XVII century in the Zavolzhye region. This is an old Russian craft of making decorative wooden dishes and furniture made in red and black tones on a gold base. The peculiarity of khokhloma is a colorful pattern, which usually consists of juicy red strawberries, ash or tree branches that seem to bloom right in front of your eyes.

Be sure to warn your friends that Khokhloma does not withstand water. Spoons with Khokhloma painting cannot be used for soup or tea or washed in the dishwasher.

Did you know that the golden paint used in the Khokhloma painting is actually silver tin? — А вы знаете, что золотистая краска, которая используется в хохломской росписи, на самом деле является серебристым оловом?

Палехская миниатюра (Palekh)

Palekh

Pay attention to the painted lacquered boxes in the Palekh style. This is not cheap, but a unique, chic gift. Women like to use them as jewelry boxes. Palekh painting can also be found on trays, teapots, ornaments.

In the Palekh miniature, there are usually plots from real life, fairy tales, literary works, folk songs written in tempera paints of bright colors on a black background.

Did you know that artists involved in Palekh painting must study for over 10 years? — А вы знали, что художники, занимающиеся палехской росписью, учатся более 10 лет?

Textile souvenirs

Павловопосадские платки (Pavlovo Posad shawls)

Pavlovo Posad shawls

All connoisseurs of fashion will appreciate one of the richly decorated traditional shawls with elegant floral patterns. The unique technique of creating such wonderful patterns in clothes originated in the beautiful city of Pavlovsky Posad, which is located about 68 kilometers from Moscow.

Did you know that there is a museum dedicated to the headscarf? It is located in the homeland of the Pavlovo Posad shawl in the city of the same name. — А вы знаете, что существует музей, посвященный платку? Он находится на родине павловопосадского платка в одноименном городе.

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Вологодские кружева (Vologda lace)

Vologda lace

Lace resembling a frosty pattern on a winter window has been produced in Vologda since the end of the XVIII century. Made of durable linen or cotton threads, Vologda lace is very durable. Making lace is one of the most painstaking and time-consuming crafts, so real Vologda lace can be quite costly.

Did you know that about 250 men were engaged in the creation of Vologda lace at the beginning of the 20th century in Vologda? — А вы знаете, что созданием вологодского кружева в начале XX века в Вологде занималось около 250 мужчин?

Оренбургские пуховые платки (Orenburg shawls)

Orenburg shawls

Orenburg shawls, knitted from goat down and silk, are very warm and at the same time light. The down of Orenburg goats is the thinnest in the world — 16-18 microns. A real Orenburg shawl of any size can be fit and stretched through an engagement ring. That is impressive, if we say so ourselves. 

Did you know that one of the Orenburg shawls got into the Guinness World Records. It weighs 46 kilograms and has an area of 400 square meters. — А вы знаете, что один из оренбургских пуховых платков попал в книгу рекордов Гиннесса. Он весит 46 килограмм, а его площадь —  400 кв. м.

Metal souvenirs

Самовар (Samovar)

Samovar

If you have a lot of free space in your luggage, then such a souvenir will definitely surprise the one to whom it is intended. The Russian samovar, the central element of the Russian tea culture, embodies the warmth and comfort in the Russian home. Although traditional samovars are heated with coal, modern versions of samovars use electricity to heat water in the same way as in an electric kettle.

Did you know that in many Russian cities, there are even monuments to the samovar: Tula, Kungur, Elabuga? — А вы знаете, что во многих российских городах даже есть памятники самовару: Туле, Кунгуре, Елабуге?

Жостовские подносы (Zhostovo trays)

Zhostovo trays

A magnificent and quite practical souvenir from Russia — metal trays hand-painted with bright colors. Sometimes they depict landscapes and ancient Russian churches. Each tray created at the Zhostovsky Decorative and Applied Art Factory is hand-painted and signed by the author.

Did you know that one can see Zhostovo trays in the Russian Museum and the Hermitage?

Decorations

Янтарные сувениры (Amber souvenirs)

Amber souvenirs

Amber is not a real stone, it is petrified wood resin that has hardened and turned into stone. The rich warm orange color, unique texture and variety of jewelry make amber souvenirs one of the most popular among tourists in Russia. However, it is very easy to buy fake amber, so make sure that you buy it only in specialized stores or art salons and ask for certificates of authenticity.

Did you know that there are more than three hundred shades of amber, which, in various combinations, make each piece unique? — А вы знаете, что выделяют более трехсот оттенков янтаря, которые в различном сочетании делают каждый камень уникальным?

Footwear

Валенки (Valenki)

valenki

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have some natural eco-friendly winter boots? You will find them in Russia. Traditional valenki made of sheep’s wool will warm you in winter even in Siberia. For several decades in the middle of the XX century, valenki were considered old-fashioned country shoes and were worn in the city only in the coldest weather. Now the situation is strikingly different: felt boots are back in fashion and serve as a source of inspiration for shoe designers.

Did you know that valenki are not divided into left and right? They are the same in shape. — А вы знаете, что валенки не делятся на левый и правый? Они одинаковые по форме.

And a small bonus: we advise you to pay attention to food. Some might not consider them souvenirs, but what else could perfectly convey the flavor of a country? Therefore, here are some gastronomic ideas for you:

  • caviar;
  • vodka;
  • chocolate sweets;
  • honey.

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