Russia, being one of the best holiday destinations in the world, gets a large number of tourists from all over the world throughout the year. To make one’s visit to Russia immortal, taking home souvenirs is a must. I made sure to collect lots of those from vendors and beautiful crafty shops and bring home the inexplicable Russian aura!
1- Matryoshka Dolls
Also known as Russian nesting doll, these adorable dolls are the most commonly available souvenir of Russia that one can get and one must get on their trip to Russia. These dolls are available individually or in a set with the outermost doll biggest in size. Traditionally it is a female in a classic Russian peasant dress and the innermost doll is of a baby. The rest of the dolls can be of either gender and currently, Matryoshka dolls can be found in various designs and even custom made for purchase.
Khokhloma paintings are famous Russian wood paintings known for their application of royal colours like red and gold over a black background. It adds a special touch to wooden tableware or furniture. This handicraft came into existence somewhere during the 17th Century and thus comes with a rich history. The best of pieces are even displayed in the Khokhloma Museum in a district near the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia along with a gift shop. They also serve beautifully hand-carved and painted wooden gifts so I made sure to take some for my friends back home!
Palekh is a local handicraft found in a village by the same name which is close to the city of Moscow. It is home to around 600 artists who have passed down their talent, expertise and precision in the skill of handicrafts from generation to generation. Palekh is keeping the art of miniature painting alive in the modern world. Works by Palekh masters are kept in numerous museums of Russia, churches in the Moscow Kremlin and abroad making it a recognizable Russian souvenir all over the world.
4- Zhostovo Trays
Zhostovo is a Russian folk art involving painting on metal trays. They can be recognized by bright flower compositions on a dark background. It is indeed spectacular how the skillful and talented masters of Zhostovo have turned mere domestic utensils into real masterpieces of art and brought acclamation to Russia. No stenciling, guide lines or machinery is used to make these paintings, just sheer talent. Nowadays the works of Zhostovo artists are on display at various exhibitions and museums not only in Russia, but in many other countries of the world.
The Samovar is essentially a classic water and tea heating container, crafted in many shapes and sizes. In Russia, samovars are an important part of every household and used either for heating purposes or to commemorate their heritage. Reserving pride of place for a samovar at the festive table is both a tribute that Russians give to their ancestors and a ceremony that embodies warm-hearted hospitality. Whether you use it to boil water or not, a Russian samovar will always make a great souvenir or a home decor element because of its roots to Russian heritage and the craftsmanship involved.
6- Gzhel Porcelain
Gzhel Porcelain is one of the most elegant handmade souvenirs and my favorite one that I brought from Russia. These pieces depict the one-of-a-kind skills of the local craftsman of Russia and are known by their cobalt blue and white colours. Gzhel masterpieces can virtually be found in every Russian household and is a beautiful piece of art to own as a souvenir and a memory of the equally picturesque country of Russia.
7- Dymkovo Toys
The Dymkovo toys are traditional earthenware toys manufactured by the locals of Dymkovo village as part of a hundred year old tradition. They are the longest surviving toys in the history of Russia. The women and children of Dymkovo village have been crafting these fine pieces which are pleasing to the eye as mantelpieces and gifts to friends and family.
8- Amber Stones
The amber that we know today was actually has a formed approximately 30-90 million years ago; many years before modern humans walked the earth. It is popular in the world as a Russian gem and used in jewellery making. It is highly valued for its beautiful colors, individual variations, lightweight-ness, luster and warmth.