While you can find khokhloma at any souvenir shop in Russia, some of the best is in and around Moscow. This style of painting features red, gold and green flowers and leaves over a black background. It is one of the oldest and most widespread forms of Russian decoration.
The palekh style of painting is often applied to small lacquered boxes, which can make great gifts to hold jewelry or just to admire. Palekh features a miniature folk painting, often taken from a fairytale. Make sure to ask what the painting is before you buy. The best will be hand-painted, and not cheap.
Shawls and Scarves
Meanwhile, though winter is now finally behind us, there are few women who would complain about receiving a brightly colored shawl. Look for ones from Pavlovo Posad, where they have been manufactured since the 1860s.
The blue-and-white porcelain at Russian souvenir markets is not a cheap import from China. Rather, it is a tradition called gzhel, which takes its name from the town near Moscow where it’s made. You can find teapots, statuettes and even cuckoo clocks made in this delicately adorned fashion.
If you’re looking for some designer labels to keep you happy, you can’t miss the TsUM department store, a symbol of fashion in Moscow for more than 110 years. The historic building alone is worth a visit. The fashion boutiques on nearby Tretyakovsky Proezd also offer international premium labels.
Ulitsa Petrovka, 2 tsum.ru
While you can find these souvenirs in almost any underground crosswalk, if you have time it is worth your while to take a trip to one of Moscow’s souvenir markets, where you can find a much better selection. Moscow’s Arbat is lined with stores offering traditional handcrafts. If you don’t mind going further afield, Izmailovsky Market is a contender for one of the seven wonders of the souvenir world. This giant open-air market is located right next to the Izmailovsky Kremlin, a pseudo-historical complex which takes elements from some of Russia’s greatest architecture, and you should plan on spending a day here if you want to see everything.
Izmailovskoe Shosse, 73Zh Metro Partizanskaya Kremlin-izmailovo.com +7 (495) 215 5437
For art lovers, the gift shop at the Tretyakov Gallery has some beautiful items. If you’d like to admire a reproduction of an Ivan Aivazovsky sunset at home, or wrap yourself in a blanket featuring a Wassily Kandinsky abstraction, you won’t mind exiting through the gift shop after your museum excursion.
Lavrushinsky Pereulok, 10 Metro Tretyakovskaya tretyakovgallery.ru +7 (495) 957 0701
One of Moscow’s main attractions is its gorgeous and notably well-functioning metro system. Leaving without something to remember your trips through this wonder of urban engineering would be a shame, and the metro has a number of its own stores providing stylish branded goods. The flagship souvenir shop is located right next to Mayakovskaya station.
Tverskaya Ulitsa, 30/2 Metro Mayakovskaya
A Place for Bookworms
A hotspot for cute magnets and postcards is the bookstore chain Respublika. Look out for the chic Heart of Moscow branded goodies. They also have some great books with pictures of Moscow here, though most will be in Russian.
respublica.ru +7 (495) 150 0558
One for Football Fans
And, of course, it would be unthinkable to leave without a jersey from one of Moscow’s four premier league football teams. Whether it’s Dynamo’s blue and white, CSKA’s blue and red, Lokomotiv’s green and red, or Spartak’s red and white, you should be able to find something at Sport Depo.
sportdepo.ru +7 (495) 287 9039