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Tasha Levytska / © Culture Trip
Tasha Levytska / © Culture Trip
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10 Souvenirs You Can Only Buy in Ukraine

Picture of Maria Sibirtseva
Updated: 4 May 2018
Choosing the right souvenir is a scrupulous job. Some people buy souvenirs for themselves in memory of the country they visited, others would like to present something as a gift to friends and relatives. To find something special and memorable, read our list of the exclusive Ukrainian souvenirs.

Horilka

In Ukraine, horilka was produced since the Zaporozhye Sich era (16th-18th century). The composition of a traditional drink is quite simple: a solution of ethyl alcohol in water, usually 40%. The main difference from vodka is that it utilizes pepper, thus making it burn (hority in Ukrainian) in your mouth and all over your body. In addition to pepper, some recipes also contain honey. It gives the horilka a soft taste and eliminates the alcohol smell. It is recognized as the purest drink in the world, that’s why it is so popular. For sure, horilka will suit any event and feast.

Horilka at wedding
Horilka at wedding | ©Vladimir Pustovit/Flickr

Salo

Salo or pork fat is a product that, primarily, is associated with Ukraine. Once you try it with rye bread or pickles, you’ll be amazed by the smooth taste and will definitely consider buying it on the way back home.

Petrikivka Painting

Petrikivka Painting is an art that marvels. This folk painting was born in the small town of Petrikivka of the Dnieper region. When visiting the country, you can buy plates, spoons, mugs, caskets or other decor items adorned with Petrikivka Painting. It will be a wonderful gift for friends or relatives. The painting technique is protected by UNESCO.

Petrykivka painting by Liana Sklyar
Petrykivka painting by Liana Sklyar | ©Igor Balashov/WikiCommons

Pysanka

Pysanka or painted Easter egg is an ancient Ukrainian symbol, which, since pagan times, was considered an attribute of the sun, life and love. Locals still appreciate the tradition and devote decoration to the professionals. The painting of pysanka is a troublesome job that requires patience and concentration as well as knowledge of the images that are depicted on the eggs. There are over 100 symbolic drawings, derived from different regions of the country. Not surprisingly, pysanka is a true masterpiece of arts and crafts.

Vyshyvanka

Ukraine today is almost the only country that managed to bring the element of the national costume to a whole new level. A couple years ago, embroidery was just a part of the old traditions, currently it is gladly worn by the Ukrainian youth in different variations. Whether created as a dress or a shirt, it is an exclusive and expensive gift that has practical application. The most popular designer of Ukrainian Embroidery is Vita Kin; it has already conquered the poshest Parisian showrooms and world’s fashion weeks.

A post shared by Vita Kin (@vitakin_originals) on

Vinok

Vinok, or a floral wreath, is also a part of the Ukranian national costume that has spread its influence far beyond the traditional dimension. There are colourful items with ribbons as well as stunning floral crowns. Although the full Ukrainian wreath should be made of 12 flowers: milfoil, cornflower, chamomile, cherry blossom, peony, chrysanthemums and others, with such a wide variety, everyone will find an ideal option for a souvenir.

Floral wreath
Floral wreath | ©Ghenady/WikiCommons

Kiev cake

If you have already visited Kiev, you must have definitely heard or tried the legendary Kiev cake. It is the most delicious and authentic souvenir to bring from Ukraine. Tourists and Ukraine locals, and those from nearby cities, grab some of this cake to pamper their family. It is a one-of-a-kind and can be bought at the Roshen shops that are spread all over the capital.

Kiev cake Roshen
Kiev cake Roshen | ©Turzh/WikiCommons

Sopilka

Sopilka is one of the oldest musical instrument in Ukraine, known from the princely times. It is usually created from wood, has up to 10 finger holes on its body. There has been a recent revival of the ethnic Ukrainian instrument on the local art stage. The biggest example is a prominent electronic band called Onuka, which combines the contemporary beats with folk music. If you know any music lover, a sopilka will serve asa nice souvenir for him or her. By the way, it is quite easy to learn how to play.

Onuka plays sopilka
Onuka plays sopilka | ©Andriy Makukha/WikiCommons

Didukh

Didukh is an authentic cult of Christmas in Ukraine, which is also called kolyada. It is a symbol of the harvest, welfare, wealth and the spiritual life of the nation. Nowadays it is simplified to a small bouquet of ears, various dry herbs and flowers that give a sense of mystery and of the approaching holidays. Usually, it is in the hall of the house before Christmas and remains there until the January 19, the day of Kievan Rus Epiphany.

A post shared by @babakytsya on

Bulawa

For many centuries the bulawa symbolized power and authority. It was a weapon of Cossacks, a mace with crushing action. It has a wooden or metal handle and a ball-shaped head that gives one an opportunity to inflict damage on soldiers. Now, it is presented to leaders, ambitious and strong people, as an inalienable element of ancient Ukrainian culture. Moreover, the mace is the official symbol of presidential power in Ukraine; the president receives it at the inauguration.