It doesn’t matter where you go on holidays, you always want to bring home souvenirs. As for Russia, they have a variety of traditions, thus a variety of souvenirs you might be interested in. You probably know about 'mastryoshka' (Russain nesting doll) or Soviet symbolics. However, have you ever heard about ushanka, valenki or khokhloma? Those are the important parts of Russian culture you might want to learn more before your vacation.
Amber - the classiest Russian souvenir
Amber takes it way back to antiquity. This fossilized resin of ancient extinct coniferous trees is widely known for its magnificent beauty as well as magic powers. The jewel can be almost any color, ranging from dark brown to a light yellow. Russians have a long and close relationship with amber. It was used to make jewelry and household items since the 18th century. It was also believed that amber cures many diseases, like stomach pains, abdominal cramps, fever, and fainting. In St. Petersburg, there is even a room fully faced with amber panels.
Khokhloma - a traditional gift from Russia
Khokhloma is a traditional Russian craft, coming from 17th century Nizhniy Novgorod. It’s a special style of painting for wooden furniture, recognized for the use of red and gold flower patterns on a dark background. Some people believe it originated from Old Believers who didn’t believe that only one God exists. Nowadays you can see some of its examples in Izmailovo souvenir market or other gift shops.
Valenki - a practical souvenir from Russia
Valenki are special Russian fur boots. They are the most popular winter footwear among men, women, boys and girls (however, they are mostly worn by little kids nowadays). Valenki are warm and comfortable, thus can be used for Russian severe colds. Visit some Russian museums to learn more about valenki’ history but also to try them on. Who knows, maybe one day they will be your favorite pair of shoes.
Ushanka (winter hat) - the warmest traditional gift from Russia
The most popular Russian hat is ushanka or shapka ushanka. It is a fur traditional winter hat people in Russia would choose to wear since the beginning of the 20th century. Its name “ushanka” comes from the Russian word “ushi” (ears). The hat is usually made of sheep or rabbit fur and sewn with special earflaps to protect them from Russian colds. It’s still very popular for men and women but also very warm. Try it yourself!
Faberge Eggs - the coolest Russian gift
Faberge Eggs are well known outside of Russia. The real jeweled Fabergé egg made by Karl Fabergé and his company would cost you around 10-20 million USD. However, you can look for a cheaper replica in gift shops on Kuznetsky most or Arbat street that would look almost the same but cost no more than 200 USD. Crafted as the Easter present for the Empress Maria Fedorovna, the wife of Alexander III at the end of the XIX century Faberge became a symbol of the Russian Royal family. Today, these gem-incrusted eggs, made of precious metals, are associated with the luxury of the pre-revolutionary Russia. Only 43 of 50 eggs have survived.
Best souvenirs from Russia to bring back home