Travel Tips

Find some useful information & recommendations before you pack your bag for an unforgettable experience to Russia

Three of the most famous Russian souvenirs are the matryoshka nested dolls, Palekh boxes, and Khokhloma wooden dishes. The originals can be very expensive, because they represent individual works of art. Be wary of cheap imitations. If the price seems too good to be true, the item probably isn’t authentic.
The matryoshka was actually brought to Russia from Japan in the 1890s. But since these nested dolls, originally one increasingly smaller lady in peasant dress inside of another, have become treasured souvenirs.
The famous Russian lacquer boxes, often named after the town of Palekh actually describe an art that exists in primarily four towns: Palekh, Mstyora, Fedoskino and Kholui. These papier-mache boxes are covered with layers of black tempera over which an artist creates an original scene. Most often, the artist signs or initials her or his work and indicates the city. A final coat of lacquer makes for a gleaming souvenir.
In the town of Khokhloma they have been making wooden dishes and utensils for hundreds of years. Linden wood is dipped into a tin or aluminum powder, and then ornate black and red designs are painted on it by hand. When the product is fired in an oven, the silvery aluminum turns a golden color, giving the finished bowl or utensil its distinctive golden background.
Russians love winter and impatiently await its arrival. We recommend that you dress warmly and wear waterproof shoes or boots because the distances between buildings are great and the streets and sidewalks tend to be slushy from October through May. You might purchase a fur hat with ear flaps as a practical addition to your wardrobe and a great souvenir of your visit.
There are some stereotypes that Russians are not so friendly with strangers & rarely give them a smile. That’s just a piece of truth. As a rule, Russian people in general rarely smile on the streets.
However, despite this fact, Russians are very warm-hearted persons but usually they try not to share their feelings in an expressive way.
Will let you into a secret - the Russian kitchen is the place to be for good conversation over hot tea. The formal living room is normally reserved for honored guests, but if you are invited to the kitchen table, then be sure to accept the invitation, for it means that at least for the evening you will be one of the family.
No trip to Russia is complete without a visit to the theater. When you arrive at the theater, you should show your ticket, then proceed to the coat check racks. You must leave your coat and hat, and you may leave your briefcase or packages. Many women change from boots into more comfortable and attractive shoes. There is no charge for cloakroom service, but a modest fee is charged for rental of opera glasses. The few rubles that the attendants earn this way substitute for tips. In addition, custom permits those returning opera glasses to go to the head of the line after the performance.
Churches and cathedrals are everywhere. The Russian Orthodox churches are far more than architectural monuments. If you wish to attend services, please be advised that women are expected to have something covering their heads. Many monasteries follow a strict dress code, and jeans or casual slacks may not be tolerated.
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