The Matryoshka doll (some tourists call them nesting dolls or even «babushka») is the most popular, most typical souvenir from Russia. Almost each tourist takes back home at least one of them, but very few people know the story which is behind the matryoshka. Usually the guests presume that matryoska is an ancient Russian toy — it’s not true!
The Matroyshka appeared in Russia at the very end of the 19th century and has Japanese origin. The prototype of the matryoska was the figure of a Japanese monk which had several smaller monks inside it. Russian artists from Mamontov’s workshop made a similar toy in the Russian style, where representations of girls followed figures of boys. Later on they started to make girls only. The name Matroyshka comes from a Russian village-style female name Matryona which was very popular at that time.
You can attend a master class within the city tour of St Petersburg for kids. During the master class you will get a set of blank matryoshka dolls consisting of three or five pieces and the craftsmen will explain how to paint them and will help you to start. Usually by the end of the master class participants have one piece finished and they can take the rest with them and practice doing it at home. But as always everything depends on you — some of our guests managed to finish all three or even five dolls. This master class is always great fun for everyone. Of course we especially recommend it when you travel with children, but we can assure you that the adults enjoy it as much as the little ones. So we recommend this master class for adult groups too, for it gives you a chance not only to study a Russian national craft, but also to feel being a child for a moment and enjoy life as much as children do. The master class usually takes about an hour.