Located on an old trade route “from the Varangians to the Greeks”, Veliky Novgorod used to be the centre of trade and crafts. Today, as it used to be in the times of the legendary merchant Sadko, there is a crafts trade fair where one can always buy nice souvenirs and handy for household things by modern craftsmen.
Birch bark items are the main souvenirs of Novgorod. The great variety of birch bark works ranges from little weaved boxes, nice frames with impressed lettering, and tiny bast-shoe-shaped trinkets to luxurious multi-layer bast baskets with a carved ornament and real made-to-measure bast shoes.
Both adults and children like chiming the small copies of Valday harness bells. This is another truly Novgorodian souvenir. Golden or painted, it will sound in its ringing voice forever, reminding of a well-known legend of the Novgorod veche bell that was broken into small pieces in Valday, and later on these pieces turned into small ringing bells.
Tablecloths, towels, clothes, or bedclothes finely made in the style of “Krestetskaya Strochka” (“Krestsy Hemstitch”) also appear to be useful souvenirs. This hand-made embroidery on linen cloth used to be an old folk trade in old times but it is still popular these days. Knots at the intersection of threads resemble snowflakes that form marvellous patterns on white, grey, red or even bright green linen cloth.
Since the 19th c., Novgorod Land has been a centre of porcelain production. This tradition has been preserved till present day. The so-called “blue” cobalt china, decorated with the golden outline of St. Sophia Cathedral and ancient patterns is particularly popular.
After a visit to Novgorod Land, one will definitely bring home an amazing little part of it!