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Shopping in St.Petersburg

It is impossible to get to know the real Russia without getting acquainted with its traditions, folklore, customs, beliefs, and, of course, applied art. Applied arts of Russia accumulate all the abovementioned for the hand-made works produced by traditional masters, such as those who live in St. Petersburg, Moscow and villages of Fedoskino, Palekh, Zhostovo and others, - are closely connected with old Russian folklore.

Here on these pages I would like you to learn about what has been produced in Russia since the days of old and what made these works so popular both in our mother land and abroad.

In our country, these things are not merely souvenirs. We actually use them in our household, for home decoration and other purposes. And our overseas guests take great pleasure in shopping for these exclusively Russian works of art and in afterwards presenting their relatives and friends with these souvenirs which will not only take their breath away but also keep the memory about our beautiful country in their hearts for a long time.

Here are the things that are worth admiring and marveling at by every person who visits Russia.

Matryoshka

Matryoshka, or Babushka, like some call this toy, is the most popular souvenir brought home from Russia. This doll has since long ago become the symbol of our country. Where does the name "matryoshka" come from? It is a derivative of the name Matryona, or Maria, that was the most popular girl name in Russia for centuries. As a rule matryoshkas had from 2 to 24 dolls inside of each other, but there were also ones that had 48 and even 60 of them in one piece that were easily put one into another…   
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Palekh and other schools of painting

The old Russian tradition of painting on wood comes from ancient icon-painting and dates back to the 12th century and even earlier. There are several schools of painting that exist until now and amaze us with their splendid works of art. The most notable among them are those of the villages Palekh, Fedoskino, Mstyora, and Kholuy. Their painted and lacquered boxes made of wood are known all over the world and are among the highest priorities in souvenir shopping of St. Petersburg visitors. These pages tell about the history and peculiarities of these four schools of painting as well as contain colorful pictures of the works of art produced in these villages…   
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Gzhel porcelain

Gzhel is the name of the oldest and most famous Russian ceramic center which is situated some 50 km south-east of Moscow and known since the 14th century as a manufacturer of hand-made porcelain, distinguished by quality and beauty. All patterns are hand-drawn, as in the old days, so every item is a work of art on its own. Now Gzhel produces tea-, coffee- and dinner services, samovars, vases, candlesticks, clocks, lamps, statuettes and many other items. Young masters lovingly preserve old traditions, and enrich this precious heritage with their own finds. In 1994, Gzhel became an honored member of the International Guild of Handicrafts. The world is getting tired of mass production and longs for hand-made things of beauty. We are sure you will enjoy the sight of these beautiful things… 
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Khokhloma

The most popular objects to produce at the workshops of Khokhloma village in the days of old were tableware. The traditions have been carefully saved and further developed by modern masters who are still working in the Khokhloma village near Nizhniy Novgorod. Khokhloma painting amazes you with its delicate poetic floral pattern and festive coloring, which is based on the combination of scarlet cinnabar and glittering gold against the black lacquer background. Articles with Khokhloma ornamentation are not merely souvenirs, they can be used to keep and serve food and at the same time they add a fine touch to your home interior… 
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Zhostovo trays

The first workshops in the village of Zhostovo (not far from Moscow) sprang up at the beginning of the 19th century. They produced painted and lacquered papier-mache objects and their ornamentations at first were rather modest. In 1830 – 1840s in some of the workshops there began to appear oval or round trays, first made of papier-mache and then, in the middle of the 19th century – of iron. These became extremely popular and were of high demand in Moscow and other regions. The art of decorating the trays developed due to appearance of outstanding masters whose traditions are preserved till the present day. The manufacture is still in work now and you can admire the miraculous patterns of its unsurpassed trays…
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Birch bark boxes

Birch is one of the most beautiful trees on our planet. Its white delicate trunk radiates light, quietness, and tenderness. Though birch grows not only in Russia but also both in Scandinavia and Europe, it has since long ago become the symbol of Russia. For Russian people it is the symbol of their mother land and of its female origin. In the old days birch was planted near the wicket – entrance to the yard – so that trouble couldn't enter people's home. Near the birch there was always a bench – for people to sit under this tree and talk to it asking it for strength and health that were much needed.

Boxes made of birch bark are not only exquisitely beautiful but also have practical meaning – your silver and gold jewels will never grow dim or lose their brightness if kept in birch bark boxes. Of special delight are boxes adorned with gems…  
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Replicas of the famous Faberge Easter Eggs

There are few people in the world who never heard of the unsurpassed court jeweler Karl Gustav Faberge. He lived in St. Petersburg and created his unforgettable masterpieces for the Russian Imperial Family. Every year to the order of the tsar Faberge made new Easter eggs with surprises inside that astonished the emperor and his relatives. The eggs were made of gold or silver and decorated with diamonds, rubies, jade, crystal, ivory, pearls, lapis-lazuli, enamel, engravings, oil  paintings…Each egg was an elaborate work of art, each contained a miniature model inside – a palace, a carriage, a ship, a flower bouquet or other sophisticated things. Irony it may seem, but there are no original Faberge eggs in St. Petersburg, they were all taken away during and after the October Revolution of 1917, but there are some manufacturers in our city who take after Faberge and produce replicas of his masterpieces that are among the most exquisite souvenirs and presents brought home from St. Petersburg…  
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Orenburg down shawls

The Orenburg shawls hand-knit of goat down are well-known far outside Russia. Here in our country practically every woman of any age has such a shawl. They can be thin and elegant to wear with your dress, coat or jacket outside, or thick, warm and cozy to wrap in at home. The first appearance of these traditional Russian shawls dates back to the end of the 17th century! Art techniques of knitting have been developed throughout centuries. Our shawls took part in various international exhibitions held in Paris, Brussels, Chicago and other cities and won the world recognition. Visitors of Russia have always marveled at the thinnest "webs" that can fit into an eggshell and go through an engagement ring…  
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Amber decorations

People discovered amber many thousands years ago. It is called a stone of the sun and its biggest deposit is situated near Kaliningrad, not very far from St. Petersburg. That is why there are so many masters here who are inspired by this beautiful stone. We say that it's a warm stone. It has always been a talisman and a stone for protection from evil spirits. In our days science discovered its positive influence on our organism. Apart from that, decorations made of amber are so beautiful that every man in Russia knows that it's the best present for his women (wife, mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend, grandmother, aunt, female colleagues) to any occasion… 
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Russian samovar

Russians say that samovar is poetry. It's kind-hearted Russian hospitality. It's peace in the family. It's our history. Practically in every work of Russian classical literature you'll find a description of Russian tea party that could not take place without a samovar. Since the 19th century tea became Russian national drink. Tea parties could go on for hours. With tea served from a huge samovar people would take home-made jam made of forest berries (bilberry, cloudberry, blueberry, wild raspberry), pancakes, pies, cottage cheese and other traditional Russian courses. Samovars are present in many works of Russian painters, in songs, even in proverbs! Samovar is an integral part of the Russian culture. You'll find it in a lot of homes. In my family we have two – one made of silver without ornaments and one made of brass brightly painted with floral patterns. They are part of my life. They are my childhood…
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Of course these are not the only souvenirs you will bring home from Russia. In St. Petersburg you will find a great variety of different beautiful works of applied art and not only them…

You can choose paintings with the views of St. Petersburg, Russian bright shawls, objects made of malachite and lapis-lazuli, dolls, painted wooden ecology-friendly toys for kids, watches with revolutionary or Soviet symbols, fur, crystal, gold, icons (we take care of your permission to take them out of the country), stamps with pictures of Russian Imperial Family, caviar, vodka, or, if you are a sports fan – T-shirts and jerseys with your favorite football teams and players' names and numbers… And a lot more!

We know the shops and stores where the prices are the lowest and the celection is the greatest. We will be happy to take you shopping under our guidance, we want you to get the quality your desire at a fair price.