There comes a time when bringing handmade magnets from Andriivskyi Descent or horilka bottles simply won’t do anymore. Luckily, Ukrainian capital has much more to surprise with — from chocolate with Kyiv sightseeing spots to socks and signature postcards.
The first Ukrainian brand of pins is gaining massive popularity in the whole country. While many pins are seasonal like tiny Christmas sweaters, Ukrainian symbolic is a resurrecting theme of the brand. For instance, one of the latest additions is a chestnut pin, which refers to the symbol of Kyiv. There are even two versions of the item: a classical green-and-golden and a rainbow chestnut to support the LGBT movement. Other popular Ukrainian-style pins that can be used as gifts include the Kyiv cake, Ukrainian sweets like Korivka, Mriya airplane, Kyiv metro tokens and famous architectural decorations.
Where to buy: Pinat Pins Facebook page and Instagram, Vsi. Svoi stores
There are numerous postcards with the views of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Podil and other landmarks of the capital available almost in every small store. However, if you seek for something truly special, it might be a good idea to turn to the signature postcards by Ukrainian photographers and designers. One of them is Oleksii Kondakov. The images of city locations like buses, underground crossings and shops filled with baroque angels became widely popular on the Internet. Not many people, however, know that the images were taken and edited in Ukraine.
Mellow watercolors by Mariczka Ruban are popular as well — the artist draws animals, plants, food, and famous Ukrainian personas like Hryhorii Skovoroda. Besides, Mariczka also makes eco-bags, including the one that spells Kyiv is Love surrounded by its symbols.
Where to buy: Oleksii Kondakov Facebook page, Mariczka Ruban Facebook page, Laska charity store
This brand was founded by artist Olha Berdnyk-Otniakina, who aimed at making more quality souvenirs opposed to cheap magnets often sold in the Ukrainian capital. Dyvo, which means "miracle" in Ukrainian, offers phone cases, wallets, postcards and T-shirts with a unique design. The patterns are mostly animalistic and remind of the classic art by Mariia Prymachenko. The lion print is by far one of the most popular picks.
Where to buy: Dyvo concept store, Facebook page
The famous Kyiv pastry shop Bassano, located right near the Saint Nicholas Cathedral has their own line of souvenirs that quickly found popularity among tourists and locals. The dolceteca offers 5 types of chocolate with different city spots on the cover. The views include Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Taras Shevchenko National University, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, UFO building on the Lybidska metro station and a typical apartment block. Bassano soon will add renovated Kyiv Cycle Track to the collection of sweet Kyiv souvenirs.
Where to buy: Bassano Dolceteka
Authentic Ukrainian Motanka dolls
The motanka doll is one of the most ancient handmade items in Ukrainian household. Initially fashioned as a domestic symbol of fertility and household guardians, these dolls played an important role in the everyday life of Ukrainians in the old days.
These dolls are usually made of the natural materials such as hay, straw, wood, herbs, dry leaves, grains, seeds and are filled with fragrant herbs. Motanka dolls are typically decorated with traditional ornaments and embroidery and left faceless. These authentic dolls are considered the traditional Ukrainian souvenirs and are sold in numerous souvenir shops like EtnoDim, Folkmart. The can also be found on Andriivskyi Descent.
This Kyiv streetwear brand is not only a stylish but also convenient souvenir to bring from Ukraine. Hard was founded in 2014; and ever since it has been keeping to the high standards of making clothes: using high-quality materials, long-durable prints, unique templates and smart details. The latter include, among others, elongated sleeves with slits for thumbs on hoodies to keep the owner warm in winter. The range of clothes stretches from basic T-shirts and long sleeve tees to sportswear, baseball caps and socks. The socks with “ЖЕСТЬ” (“Hardcore”) written on them are by far one of the most popular items.
Where to buy: Hard showroom, UA Made store
Awesome Kyiv Guide
Finally, an English-language guidebook Awesome Kyiv is a souvenir that became a classic. The combination of text, which includes historical background and useful tips, and unique visual content is what attracts many tourists. The book shows not only the famous sightseeing spots but the lesser-known locations and 'iconic' places like Kyiv Perepichka to visit during the trip to Ukraine. Every year, Awesome Kyiv proves to be one of the most popular gifts from Ukraine.
Where to buy: large bookstores in Kyiv, the Osnovy Publishing House web page
Photo sources: Facebook and websites of businesses mentioned above, knigograd.com.ua, world-wide-gifts.com, deposithphotos.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.