For a long memory: what to bring from Ukraine

When visiting a bright country that is full of interesting sights, it’s a natural desire to take home not only unforgettable impressions, but also memorable keepsakes that will help to bring back warm memories about visited places. Ukraine is one of such countries and offers a wide choice of souvenirs. In addition to standard options like magnets, mugs and T-shirts with token views, Ukrainian souvenir shops, which can be found in plenty in any touristic city, offer a huge variety of original souvenirs, created by folk artists. Here we offer a list of the most popular presents, which tourists take home in memory of Ukraine.

Vyshyvanka. It is hard to imagine a more ‘Ukrainian’ thing than vyshyvanka (embroidered shirt). It is an uncolored linen, cambric or cotton shirt with long sleeves, which is embroidered by hand with intricate national patterns. Traditional colors, with which such shirts are embroidered, are black and red; however, you can often find vyshyvankas with blue, green and yellow patterns at Ukrainian souvenir markets. Some vyshyvankas are adorned with beads. Ukrainian shirts that are embroidered with white threads on white cloth are considered to be the most beautiful and expensive ones.

Rushnyk. It is nicknamed as a ‘fellow’ of vyshyvanka and always follows it in the list of the most popular Ukrainian souvenirs. Rushnyk is a small linen, hemp or cotton towel, which is usually made of homespun cloth and embroidered by hand with symbolic patterns in national colors – red and black. The patterns vary from region to region.

Initially rushnyks were used in different rites in Ukraine: to symbolically tie hands of a marrying couple, to wrap a baby after baptism, to greet guests. These embroidered towels are still considered a symbol of wellbeing, good luck, good health and prosperity. Rushnyk can be used as a small tablecloth or as a kind of décor element – it can be put in a beautiful frame under glass and hung on the wall

Souvenirs of wood. Ukraine, and especially its western region, is famous for original wooden items, many of which are real masterpieces. As a rule, local wood species – juniper, larch, oak – are used for their creation. Wooden spoons, plates, trivets, which when heated produce a smell of natural wood, carved boxes, combs and hairpins are the most common souvenirs that are brought from Ukraine. One of the most popular souvenirs is a carved wooden hetman's mace – a symbol of power and authority in Ukraine.

Tableware. Wooden and ceramic tableware, decorated with Petrikov painting, for which original flower ornaments are typical, is seen as another wonderful souvenir. It can be used for intended application or as interior decoration.

Amulets. In pre-Christian times, amulets were widespread on Ukraine’s territory. They were created for protection against evil spirits. Currently they are made as interesting souvenirs. Wreaths, bouquets, sometimes small twigs of herbs can be used as amulets to protect the house against various afflictions and to attract prosperity and good fortune to it. One of the most common keepsake amulets is motanka – a doll, twisted out of small scraps of fabric.

Herbal Teas. Tourists often bring healing teas – a collection of various healthful herbs – from the Crimea and the Carpathians.

Eatable souvenirs. If you are not going to be on a road for many days, you may run risks and take the famous Ukrainian salo (pork fat) and the legendary horilka (Ukrainian vodka) with pepper with you. Ukrainian salo is considered to be the tastiest one in the world and horilka is seen as one of the best vodkas on the continent. It is sold in conventional bottles, as well as in ceramic flasks, shaped as small figurines depicting popular national symbols. The Crimean wines, which are renowned for their high quality and matchless taste, are highly valued as well.

And again, if you have appropriate transportation conditions, you should inevitably bring the famous Kyiv cake and ‘Kyiv Vechirniy’ chocolate sweets from Kyiv.

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