Your shelves and drawers are packed with straw hats and dolls, clay figurines and flax towels? Looks like you are a big fan of good old traditional souvenirs from Belarus. Well, who are we to judge you, it’s really hard to say ‘no’ to all these cute handmade pieces with sweet memories.
Here are just some of our favorite modern keepsakes and take-home goods. Have fun, and you know, collect memories!
Beyond the generic mugs, plates and unimaginative souvenirs the city’s shops offer genuinely appealing new-wave presents created by local designers.
Mothers and grannies around the world will give you a thumbs up to a delicate piece of clay, porcelain and glass ceramics to add to their china collection.
Secure a vase or tea set adorned by vibrant colours, herbs, birds, animals and quaint patterns from Moonceramics, Sergei Naranovich, Olga Ugrinovich, Svet Keramiki, Murava Ceramics, Oleg Borichevskii, Gorgona.by, utki_uu and many others.
All of them work in their own unique technique and only a few of them organize workshops so that one can put a soul in his own piece of tableware and take it home.
In the age of smartphones, millions of apps and downloadable music, sometimes it feels so good to hold a paper book in your hands, smell it, touch and listen to the rustle of the pages.
Besides, even a kid in Belarus knows that “a book is the best gift.” So what and where should you look for? Depending on your tastes and knowledge of languages, you can either drop by any of the local bookshops or look for some specific copies.
Knowledgeable people recommend to particularly pay your attention to heavy ‘Kraina’ (This country called Belarus) by Vladimir Orlov. Exciting, like a good novel, beautiful, like National Geographic magazines, the book tells the story of our country and has Russian and English version.
A worthy substitute is ‘Paganstva’ by Andrey Lenkevich. It’s a powerful photo album about pagan traditions, which for present-day Belarusians may sound like fairy-tales, are actually the basis and integral part of life of many local villages.
Where to buy: at the Сentral Bookstore (Nezavisimosti Ave. 19) or Logvіnau bookstore (Nezavisimosti Ave. 37a). Don’t forget about oz.by, the biggest online shop of books, gifts and souvenirs, board games, toys, cosmetics, household goods, domestic technique and electronics and many more.
T-shirts, magnets and accessories
Okay, let’s forget about unimaginative fridge magnets and ubiquitous “I Love Minsk” T-shirts at GUM and TSUM stores. Feel like you can’t leave the country without bringing some traditional vyshivanka (an embroidered shirt), fabric -bag or brooch?
Simply choose any of the following: LSTR Adzienne, Symbal.by, Limited Minsk, Honar, Fainy.by, Moy Modny Kut, Krama Darechy or Ragna.by, the list has no end, literally. Also, don’t leave without attention mass-market Mark Formelle and Milavitsa.
Both have regular collections of lingerie, socks and clothes with plain designs, folk ornaments with inspiration taken from nature, featuring green herbs and blooming flowers, historic sketches and funny Belarus-themed prints.
As to accessories, the fantasy of local designers and artisans is inexhaustible. Cute wooden brooches, badges, earrings, decorations by okpodolins will win your heart and won’t flatten your wallet.
Just contact designers in direct messages or monitor Instagram pages of Big Fashion Market and Central Market to know the nearest date of markets for you to see with your eyes, touch and buy everything you like.
Bags, wallets and leather goods
The lovers of simple, high-quality and stylish things will appreciate Minsker. Leather wallets, covers, money clips, belts will serve you for so long you’ll have to pass them on to your grandkids.
The prices for belts and coin boxes start from 29 BYN (*$14,5 as of 24 April ), wallets and covers for documents – 39 BYN ($24,5), covers for smartphones – 22 BYN ($11).
Ginger Cat, the young brand of leather bracelets, bow ties and other gizmos. Our favorites are bags and backpacks with wood inserts. A mix of natural leather and pleasant wood texture is a bomb!
Whether you are in Berlin, New York or Stockholm, be sure, local fashionistas will be all over you if you carry one of Killtoday bags or backpacks with hallmark wings with you.
When heading home, some vacationers pack sand from the beach, water from the sea, or rocks from the mountains to show where they’ve been and what they’ve done…
When in Belarus, why not take a piece of it with you?
Whether you like street art or abstract art, figurative art or pop art, you’ll find the perfect artwork of local painters, illustrators, sculptors and art photographers to add your collection.
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