Matryoskha, the doll of many names. You may know them also as Russian nesting dolls, stacking dolls, secret dolls, babushak, etc. – the list goes on and on. Whichever name they go by, they are synonymous with Russian folk art and culture. These wooden dolls contain a set of identically-shaped dolls, each in decreasing size as the previous, much like a chinese nesting box.
The first doll, made in the 1890’s, was made to resemble peasant children and contained 8 dolls, with the smallest doll resembling a baby. Most matryoshka nowadays contain 4 to 12 dolls, but there have been reports of some having as many as 51 nested dolls! The more dolls in a set, the more skill needed on the part of the artisan creating it. While original themes included the countryside, peasant life, and traditional Russian culture, modern themes run the gamut: from political leaders, celebrities, animals, fictitious characters, to entirely customized sets resembling the family that commissions them.
On our Enchanting Russia tour we travel to Suzdal, one of the oldest towns in Russia, where guests have the opportunity to design and personalize their own Matryoskha doll as a special take-home keepsake. Visiting Suzdal is like traveling back in time to a fairy tale medieval town. Colorful rows of traditional wooden houses with elaborate carvings and white stone cathedrals line the streets of its historic center. At the heart of Suzdal is its Kremlin with its most notable building, the Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral, standing right in the middle of the ensemble. Like other Russian kremlins, it was originally a fortress used as a religious or administrative center. The site is identified by its five colorful onion shaped domes and intricately crafted ancient double “Golden Gates” doors. Together with several structures in the neighboring city of Vladimir, the Suzdal Kremlin was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. A Matryoskha doll is the perfect souvenir, as guests can’t help but draw inspiration from this old world.
Super Value Tour travelers love that they are able to proudly display their creations made on their Russian adventure in their homes, joining thousands of Matryoskha collectors around the world.
Check out this image search of some spectacular examples of these widely-appreciated dolls. They’re inspiring us to book a trip to Russia ASAP!