When we think what souvenir to buy in Russia, the typical answer is "Matryoshka" (wooden nesting doll) or "Balalaika" (musical instrument). It is easy to find matryoshkas and balalaikas. We want to note parenthetically that, according to some versions, the matryoshka was not initially a Russian invention, but a Japanese one, so keep that in mind. In this article we are going to talk about some particularly interesting Russian souvenirs and where to buy them.
We would be happy if your outlook on Russian souvenirs (originating from folk art and traditions of handicraft) broadened after meeting us. Besides what is stated above, you should surely consider the famous Orenburg shawls, soft to the touch, as well as many different products fashioned from wood (broaches, shkatulka (a lacquered box), a full set of dishes for the table, or goods with a famous style of painting called Khokhloma), lacework from the city of Vologda (and some other places), and, of course, a diverse variety of traditional Russian tableware: Gzhel ceramics and Kuznetsov porcelain.
Objects of art and everyday life from the Soviet period represent a special category of souvenirs. These souvenirs enjoy popularity with Russians as well, since they appreciate a lot that time period, now irreversibly lost in the past. In this case we can draw your attention to the famous Soviet-era paraphernalia: military uniforms and clothing (especially shirts and the telnyashka, a sailor's striped shirt), propaganda posters and placards put out by the Soviet authorities, the famous faceted glass tumbers (often in a silver glass holder), flags, orders and medals, vinyl records, and much more.
Actually, Russia gave a lot to the world, that can be considered souvenirs: traditional Russian alcoholic drinks, mittens, winter fur hats with ear flaps, Russian and Soviet movies, and so much more. Naturally, if you want a keepsake of your trip then you should not leave Russia without vodka and caviar.
Our guide will always tell you where to buy Russian souvenirs, both regular and unusual ones. We do not recommend buying souvenirs in the touristy places, especially if you want handmade work done by craftsmen. We will tell you and, if needed, accompany you to the right places. In Moscow, the leading place to get authentic souvenirs is, without any doubt, Izmailovo Market.
Where to buy traditional Russian souvenirs