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If you’re planning a trip to Romania and want to know what to bring back for the folks at home, we’ve got you covered. Whether cosmetics with special ingredients, high-end folk-inspired accessories, or kitschy Count Dracula fridge magnets, here are the top 11 souvenirs you can only buy in Romania.
Browse among the colourful pots, plates and various other ceramics objects displayed along Olari Street in Horezu, Vâlcea County, and take in the result of centuries of refining folk art and craftsmanship. Horezu ceramics, still made using traditional techniques and painted in shades of red, brown, green, blue and ‘Horezu ivory,’ are included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Ie, the traditional, handmade blouse decorated with ancient folk motifs combined in one-of-a-kind decorations, occupies a central place in Romania’s folk heritage. Find the perfect one for you among the many new and vintage blouses, and wear them proud, as Romanian girls and women across the country have been doing for centuries.
Romania is the land of many beautifully painted churches, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Take home a sample of the refined craftsmanship of Romanian artists with a glass painted icon featuring striking colours and elegant forms.
Romania is home to the first geriatric institute in the world, set up by pioneer Romanian biologist and physician Ana Aslan, who in the 1920s discovered the anti-aging properties of procaine. Two cosmetics ranges based on her discoveries, Gerovital and Aslavital, are still on sale today, and are wildly popular in Romania and abroad. Moreover, here you can buy cosmetics containing active substances from the Berca mud volcanoes.
Romania is one of the few countries where you can purchase creams containing bee venom, proven to ease the symptoms of joint ailments. Royal jelly is also a very common ingredient in food supplements as well as cosmetics and can be purchased pretty much everywhere, from specialised beekeepers’ fairs to supermarkets.
Saying that Romania is the best place to buy Dracula souvenirs is a no-brainer. Love him or hate him, Count Dracula is here to stay and if you want to take him home, he’ll surely find a comfortable spot on a shelf, wall or on your fridge. If you love the prospect of looking at his grinning face and bloody fangs on a daily basis, you can pick up statues, paintings, posters, fridge magnets and even wine bottles fashioned in his image.
Țuică is Romania’s national drink. While taste, quality and age should be the most important criteria when purchasing a bottle of ţuică, if you’re looking for a souvenir version, go for one that has berries and other fruit for something a little quirky. If you’re lucky, you might even come across a bottle containing a whole ripe fruit, obtained by fixing the bottle on the tree branch and letting the fruit inside reach full-size within its glass confines.
For Easter, Romanian women in several regions paint eggs using unique combinations of natural elements with traditional folk motifs. While in Romanian homes eggs are coloured red and eaten after being knocked in pairs of two in a Easter ritual, these souvenir eggs, which take a painstaking amount of time to make, are emptied before becoming little canvases for wonderful one-of-a-kind creations.
The delicious green walnut jam is a traditional Romanian gourmet specialty. Green walnuts are picked in June and turned into jam in a process that takes many hours of marination and boiling in very carefully choreographed steps.
Any of the cured meat dishes, such as smoked sausages will make a great souvenir for meat lovers. Of late, Romanian shops have started selling meat cured in Salina Turda salt mine, as well as delicious salami made of bison, deer and wild boar meat.
Romanian traditional motifs are making their way into high-end fashion creations by designers at home and abroad. Iutta, an accessories brand based in Bucharest, is reviving Romanian folk motifs and sewing them on bags, shoes and other leather accessories.