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The Real Russia :: What it's Like at the Games - The Best Russian Souvenirs to Bring Back

by Paul Heling


The best souvenirs to bring back from Russia (that are difficult to get anywhere else in the world)


Hand painted lacquer boxes.  I wish I had purchased more of these!  The workmanship is unbelievable with intricate detail.  You can find small boxes starting at $35 with prices up to $12,000 for those painted by famous artists. Heirloom quality boxes can be found in the more reasonable  $100 - $600 range.  They often depict stories of Russian Fairy Tales.


Ushanka caps (fur hats with ear flaps) Traditionally made of fur - most tourists can find them with faux fur.  Pins with the Soviet or Russian Federation crests can be purchased to add more Russian style to it.  These are so warm they are now standard issue for Russian military uniforms.  


Delicately embroidered linens: tablecloths, pillowcases or traditional children's tunics such as this one.


The world famous Matryoshka (stacking) dolls.  These start with simple sets of 3 to extremely detailed sets of up to 14!   Most feature the traditional "doll" face but you can also find many themed sets.  This is a Christmas set and a set telling the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". 


Souvenir eggs - this one made of  carved wood with the icon Madonna and child hand painted on it.  You can also find tiny enamel egg charms for necklaces or bracelets designed in the fashion of Russia's world famous Faberge jeweled Eggs.  


Kohkhloma tableware (photo credit - Creative Commons License >>)    These hand painted wooden bowls, spoons and other items have been a folk art tradition for hundreds of years.  They usually red, black and gold with a floral pattern.

Vodka and unique vodka glasses:  There are of course tons of varieties.  I even saw vodkas that came in bottles shaped like Matryoshka dolls or space rockets. Russky Standart is a high quality one rarely found outside Russia.  

Other favorites are elaborately carved Birchwood boxes, jewelry and stones from Siberia made of Amber, Malachite and Charoite, chocolate and communist era military souvenirs.