A tourist will never leave Chelyabinsk Region empty-handed, whether they have a tiny fragment of a meteor or a blade made of real damask steel, a jar of sorrel jam or a pack of herbs for a pot of fragrant tea.
The engraved Zlatoust blades and wall panels are known throughout the world. Examples of this unique art are displayed in the Kremlin Armoury and the Hermitage, as well as in the largest museums in the UK, France and USA.
Depending on their budget, visitors can buy a dagger decorated with precious metals and stones, a working sheath or a tourist knife. The engravings of traditional landscapes will remind them of their trip to the Urals.
Each knife comes with a certificate of authenticity. Remember that weapons can only be taken on a plane if they're stored in your check-in bag.
Where to buy: AiR factory, Zlatoust arms factory, Oruzheinik and other enterprises of the Zlatoust Guild of bladesmiths.
Valenki are made by hand in factories around the Southern Urals using natural sheep wool and traditional felting technology. The shoes can be made in a wide variety of different designs. There are valenki with floral and animal patterns, valenki decorated with traditional ornaments in the style of a Pavlovo Posad shawl or Gzhel, or even valenki with characters from cartoons and comic books. Valenki can be a beautiful and, most importantly, warm souvenir from your trip to the Southern Urals.
Valenki are produced in the town of Kusa at the Kusinochka factory and in the village of Brodokalmak.
Where to buy: the Chelyabinsk Central Market. We recommend checking the salespoints on the websites of the manufacturers.
The minerals malachite, jasper, serpentine are familiar to many who grew up on Pavel Bazhov’s fairy tales. Ural craftsmen have long been famous for their distinct stone carving technique. In the hands of these stonecutters, hard and unmanageable materials are transformed into works of art. Keep an eye out for products made from aventurine. It's no wonder that the mineral's other name is 'goldstone': hundreds of stars seem to shine brightly from inside the stone. Aventurine can be white, pink, red or green.
Where to buy: there are plenty of shops with inexpensive and high-quality products in the town of Kusa. In addition, Ural gems can be purchased in souvenir shops at the Ilmensky Reserve Museum, on Kirovka Street and in the Uralsky Souvenir shop in Chelyabinsk.
No family holiday in Chelyabinsk Region is complete without Ural pelmeni. Yuzhnouralsk pelmeni are known for the special method used to prepare the filling. They must be made from several types of meat with the addition of lard or butter, garlic and spices.
Pelmeni are a real symbol of the Urals. Pelmeni-shaped pendants, bars of soap and white chocolate candies have become popular souvenirs among visitors to Chelyabinsk.
Where to buy: grocery stores and souvenir shops.
Originating in the 19th century at a cast iron and steel works in the town of Kasli, Kasli art cast-iron sculptures are known for their amazingly precise silhouettes and delicately rendered elements. Ural craftsmen have managed to transform hard metal into a malleable material, giving the products delicacy and lightness.
Cast-iron figurines will be the perfect decoration for any room. Women may enjoy brooches, pendants and earrings made by Kasli craftsmen.
Where to buy: Kasli Plant of Art Castings and Kamenny poyas LLC (both located in Kasli); at the Uralsky Souvenir shop in Chelyabinsk.
In February 2013, a meteor crashed into Chelyabinsk Region. The largest fragment, weighing more than 650 kg, was pulled from the bottom of Lake Chebarkul. The largest of the fragments is currently held in the State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals. Visitors not only have the opportunity to see the superbolide but can also purchase souvenirs with small fragments of the meteor as a keepsake.
Where to buy: products with authentic fragments of the Chelyabinsk meteor, confirmed by certificates of authenticity, can be purchased in the State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals, the Natural Science Museum of the Ilmen Reserve and the Uralsky Souvenir shop.
Hockey fans know that Chelyabinsk Region is the homeland of two famous hockey clubs: Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Traktor Chelyabinsk. T-shirts, sweaters, hats, scarves, pucks and other souvenirs with the symbols of these hockey clubs will make great gifts for those fond of winter sports.
Where to buy: in official stores on Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) and Traktor (Chelyabinsk) ice arenas.
Chelyabinsk Meteor is not only a fragment of a celestial body but also the name of some very tasty sweets. They were created at the YuzhUralKonditer confectionery factory in Chelyabinsk after the meteor event. A Chelyabinsk Meteor set includes two types of candies: soft roasted nuts and delicate cream candy, both with chocolate glaze.
YuzhUralKonditer, one of the oldest confectionery factories in Chelyabinsk Region, is a well-known manufacturer of many kinds of sweets, including Meredinki biscuit cakes, Krasnaya Schapochka and Mishka Kosolapy chocolate candies, and Vecherny Chelyabinsk and Bogatstvo Urala candy sets. These candies will be a delicious addition to your tea-time after your trip to Chelyabinsk Region.
Where to buy: in any large supermarket in Chelyabinsk.
In recent years, cheese-making has been developing rapidly throughout Russia, and Chelyabinsk Region is no exception. Milk from the cows and goats that graze in the mountain pastures of the Southern Urals is being transformed into premium quality, natural homemade cheese in the skilful hands of local cheesemakers.
If you're planning to enjoy some skiing at Solnechnaya Dolina, we recommend buying cheeses at the Izvestnaya cheese factory. Its flagship Barbudos cheese won the Grand Prix in the Best Russian Cheese competition.
Where to buy: sales points of the Izvestnaya cheese factory.