Things to Buy in Moscow

It’s easy to find interesting and beautiful souvenirs in Moscow. Rather than stifle traditional craft, the former-Soviet Union encouraged the continued practice of age-old skills while leaving behind plenty of souvenirs itself.

Items range from small and affordable enamelled badges to the pricier samovars, shaped semi-precious stones and hand-painted Palekh boxes. Popular Russian items include finely lacquered and hand-painted bowls, trays, spoons, chess sets, wooden toys and of course, the matryoshka dolls.

Aside from traditional craft visitors will find it hard to miss Soviet memorabilia such as replica gear, uniforms, hats and badges. Russia is also the best place to get your hands on original vodka and caviar.


An elaborate device used to boil water to make tea and, amazingly, a permit is needed to export a rare, pre-1945 samovar.

Matryoshka Dolls

These dolls fit inside each other and sets come in a huge variety of styles, sizes and colours, some a lot more expensive than others. Traditional dolls are the most beautiful, but also available are sets painted to represent Soviet leaders.

Lacquered Items

Painted wooden and paper mache objects are one of the most popular souvenirs and are sold throughout the whole city. Lidded and extravagant Palekh boxes can be very expensive, but wooden eggs and spoons decorated with icons and red, black and gold paint are very affordable.

Palekh Boxes

In the late 18th century, minature painting on paper-mache boxes originated. Based on Russian folk tales and legends, artists in the four villages of Palekh, Fedoskino, Mstera and Kholuy still craft and paint these sturdy items with exquisite detail.

Chess Sets

Chess in Russia is almost revered, and a popular past time with both young and old knowing the rulesof play. All sorts of materials are used to make an exciting variety of chess sets including malachite and matryoshka-themed sets.

Russian Shawls

Traditional Russian shawls were often worn by women and occasionally still are. Brilliantly coloured, these woollen shawls helped keep warmth from the winter. Department stores sell polyester shawls, but they aren’t nearly as nice or warm as those made traditionally from wool.

Soviet Memorabilia

Soviet items and memorabilia from the 20th century are always looked at with fondness, regardless of one’s political leanings. Among the stuff you can buy includes old bank notes, coins, pocket watches and plenty of Red Army gear including belt buckles, uniforms, badges and hats.

Semi-Precious Stones

Malachite, amber, jasmine and all sorts of marbles from the Ural mountains are used to craft a range of sculptures, big and small.

Vodka and Caviar

Russia has an enormous variety of both clear and flavoured vodkas, such as lemon and pepper. They make fine additions to authentic red and black caviar. Travel to Moscow