Moscow is ready to meet Obama

Obama Nesting Doll - Moscow is ready to meet Obama

Obama will visit Moscow on July 6-8 to meet with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin. So now if you walk through the Red Square and Kremlin areas or any tourist attractions or crafts markets Vernisazh in Izmailovo you can see the ubiquitous nesting doll with Obama on them and also the American flag! These nesting dolls called Matreshka are one of the national souvenirs of Russia and are hand made from wood and hand painted (cheap ones have photo copies on it).

The history of the Matreshka doll started at the end of the 19th century. There are several legends about it's origin. The most popular says that the idea to make the traditional handicraft shaped like a woman in the local costume were taken from Japanese bold funny figurine representing a wise man Fukuruma (The Seven Gods of Fortune) that consisted of 7 figures of Gods nestled one to another.

From beginning of 20th century till present times a small town in Moscow region Sergiev Posad famous not only via Holy Trinity monastery, but also via numerous talented artists and production of toys, became a center on producing the Matreshka doll.

A regular matreshka doll can consist from 5 to 10 pieces (average 7) but with my clients I saw a huge versions of these dolls in Izmailovo market or in shops at Old Arbat (famous pedestrian street in Moscow) that had even more 50 figures of dolls inside for a price more than $1500. Of course, the big dolls are not on demand because of their size and the high price and mostly they made it by special orders, for example, as advertizing in fancy gift shops. The prices for normal size matreshka dolls can vary from few dollars to several hundreds depending on its size, amount of pieces inside, but the most important here is the quality of painting (if you decided to buy one, please, pay your attention to details of a face, costume and miniature of a biggest and smallest figures!).

Artists often paint Matreshkas in the style of different art schools of costumes for the dolls and can have in front different paint scenes from popular fairy tales. The scenes from the famous Russian poet Pushkin are especially beloved by children and adults. In the present times, I think from middle of 90s, became very popular for tourists an idea to make figures of all famous Soviet leaders (Lenin, Stalin, Hrushev, Gorbachev) and current presidents of Russia. For example, several years ago, the shelves in stores were filled with matreshkas featuring Putin, but now lots of vendors have nesting dolls with Medvedev , our new president on the biggest (main) one with former leaders inside. In these days you can also see Matreshkas with Obama painted on them. This is the most recent addition to the souvenir vendor stands.

When Obama is here on July 6-8 best artists and craft people could visit the Obama at their hotel to show unique handicrafts. The artists from the craft market said that when Bush was here, he and his wife Laura did this. Perhaps Michelle will be able to do the same! Obama is a fan of Pushkin and he will probably want to get souvenirs featuring Pushkin fairy tales. He admires Pushkin so much that he even named one of his daughters after Pushkin's wife (Natasha or Natalia more official).

Anyway, we all wish our leaders much good luck at their meetings!

PS: Congratulations to all my former clients and friends from USA with Independence Day!!!

With BEST Regards from Moscow,
Arthur Lookyanov
Private Guide & Personal Driver

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About Me in Short

Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website Moscow-Driver.com from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

See you in Moscow!

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