Ukraine – If you ever decide to come to Ukraine you will definitely want to bring something home as a reminder of your trip. You can choose a traditional souvenir like a magnet with a picture of a famous sight, a cup, a flag or a T shirt. But it will most definitely be made in China and it is not something that represents Ukraine. Many people come home with a Russian doll “matrioshka”, but even if it has Ukrainian colours it is still a Russian souvenir rather then Ukrainian.
In this article you will find information about authentic Ukrainian souvenirs that are worth buying because they are unique or because you can find them in Ukraine for a very good price where they are of high quality and made locally.
>> Order your Motanka <<
Motanka is an authentic reeled or knotted doll. It is not just a souvenir or a toy, it is an amulet. It is believed that motanka protects its hosts from the evils, brings happiness and joy to the house and attracts financial success. There are different types of motankas, each type is the best for a certain type of wish, for example, a doll with a baby on its arms is made to bring children to the house, a doll with a veil is given to a young woman who is getting ready to get married. Motanka never has a face and the cross on her face represents the sun (old Slavic tradition). The best motankas are made by their owners from the parts of old pieces of clothes and with no seams.
>> Order your Pysanky <<
This is a souvenir that you can find anywhere in Ukraine before Easter. Pysanka is a coloured egg that people make especially for the Easter day. The tradition of coloured eggs exists in several slavic countries but the ornament on a Ukrainian egg is different. Even inside Ukraine you can find different ornaments depending on the region. Of course, just like Motanka, Pysanka is not just a coloured egg. It is a symbol of happiness, kindness, hope and love in the family. It can be a great souvenir for everybody who you wish all the best.
>> Order your Vyshyvanka <<
Vyshyvanka is a traditional Ukrainian piece of clothing. It can be made for women or for men, the ornament from vyshyvanka can be found on dresses and T-shirts but the traditional vyshyvanka looks like a long sleeve blouse or a shirt. It is normally made of natural materials like cotton or linen and has a hand-made ornament near the collar and on the sleeves. Recently Vyshyvanka became very famous in the world and many fashion designers used it in their clothing collections. In Ukraine traditional vyshyvanka is a popular and quite usual thing to wear especially in the Western part of Ukraine and on holidays. It can be found in many shops and markets, you can also find and buy Vyshyvankas of many styles and ornaments online.
>> Order your Bandura <<
If you have extra large luggage or you are interested in music look out for a bandura whilst visiting Ukraine. Bandura is a falk Ukrainian musical instrument. You can see people playing it on the streets. It has a very melodic and soft sound that might remind you of a harp. It is difficult to learn to play the bandura and the full sized instument is heavy but you can buy small ones in the souvenir shops. If you are looking for a homemade bandura you can expect to see them in different shapes but the traditional shape is the one that can be seen in the photo above.
>> Order your Whistle <<
Nowadays you can buy these whistles everywhere in Ukraine, at local markets or souvenir shops but the most famous and the best ones are made in Poltava (the city in central Ukraine). Just like it was many years ago when the Ukrainian culture was just forming, nowadays such whistles are made of clay and painted with natural dye. Most of the time they are made in the shape of domestic animals and you can find a similar ornament on them like on pysanka or vyshyvanka. It is very popular with children as it whistles and can create a noise very similar to a bird singing. Most of the time the whistles are not expensive and the price range is between 3-5$ per piece.
There are many other things that Ukraine is popular for, such as chocolate or vodka. For example, in Lviv you can buy probably the best chocolate in the country. On Fridays and Saturdays at 2pm it is sold near Lvivska Majsternia Shokoladu near the main square with a 50% discount and people may stay in the queue for half an hour to buy it. Nyzhnje Selyshche village in the Zakarpattja region is famous for it’s cheese. It is a natural cheese that is made from 100% ecological milk according to the Swiss technology. You must deffinitely visit their factory if you happen to be anywhere near. Depending on the region you are visiting find out what local products are made there and try them as they will probably be the products of a very high quality.