traditional handicrafts are an integral part of the domestic
culture, which have rich history and are considered to be
a successful combination of traditions and innovations, stylistic
peculiarities of craft and creative fantasy, hand-made articles
and high skills. Art secrets of Russian masters were delivered
from father to son, and the quality of these products absorbed
the experience of tens of generations. Russian gifts and souvenirs
are very popular and widely known not only in Russia but they
are highly appreciated abroad, as well.
Russian gifts and souvenirs are distinguished by their variety
and diversity of articles, reflecting originality of cultures
of multinational Russian Federation. Among the famous Russian
handicrafts such as Khokhloma, Lacquered miniatures, Orenburg
shawls, Zhostovo trays, Vologda lace, Gzhel and Traditional
Matryoshkas. Faberge style eggs, Icon Painting, Russian Porcelain,
Watches, Tula Samovars, Russian army articles-all these items
are associated with Russian gifts and souvenirs.
All this gifts and souvenirs the tourists can not only buy
but also see all the process of its manufacturing in Verkhnie
Mandrogi, traditional Russian village built specially to introduce
the old Russian culture. The village has several traditional
Russian houses (izba), museums and also facilities for accommodation,
dining and entertainment of the guests. The nature is nice
around, the River has lots of fish, and forests are inhabited
with many bird and animal species
It is situated 320kms from St. Petersburg between the lakes
Ladoga and Onega (the taiga zone of Veps Heights), on the
left bank of the River Svir.
Mandrogi’s origins go back centuries, to the era B.C., when
a pagan forest tribe appeared on the banks of the Svir – the
Veps. Later a successful trade route, ‘from the Varangians
to the Greeks’, ran along the river Svir and free peasants
from Novogorod settled here. In the 18th century, by order
of Peter the Great, shipbuilders and carpenters were settled
here to build the Russian fleet. Nowadays the village of Verkhnie
Mandrogi is being reconstructed on its historical site. The
idea of the reconstruction is S.E. Gutsait’s.
The program of Verkhnie Mandrogi includes different types
of activities that are developed in different ways. Among
them the most interesting and exclusive projects are:
- “The Green Station” – includes berth buildings, used to
moor ships (in summer time), awnings for picnics, a stage
and other buildings used for serving tourists.
- The craft “community” – a complex of workshops for folk
art craftspeople, in which guests can get acquainted with
real Russian folk art, try to create it themselves and buy
the work of the masters. There are many different types of
folk crafts: painting, lace making, pottery, weaving etc.
There is a small exhibition about the history of the “matreshka”
(traditional Russian dolls) and an art gallery.
- The Vodka Museum – the first vodka museum in Russia! The
exhibits in this museum include more than 2000 kinds or Russian
vodka. Visitors may taste and buy all drinks exhibited. For
corporate groups we organize special tasting visits with lectures
about vodka and its history. The workers of the museum advocate
moderation in the consumption of spirits.
- . “The Path of Fairytales” – a collection of carved wooden
sculptures, situated in the forest, which illustrate the prologue
of Pushkin’s poem “Ruslan and Ludmila”. This collection was
made by the Karelian craftsman U. Gusev.
- The elk farm – a farm of genetically domestic elks, which
live in conditions that are as close to nature as possible.
The elks were brought to Mandrogi from a national park close
to the town Kostroma. The elks are kept for their useful and
healthy milk. There were also some elks that needed medical
treatment and which were returned to the wild after being
- The horse farm – a farm for riding (including those for
rent) and draught horses. The main breed of horse is the Vladimirsky
tyazhelovoz (light line). All of our horses are broken in.
- The mini milk farm – this allows us to provide all our guests
with fresh milk.
- The mini rabbit farm – “remember, rabbits are not only valuable
fur but also 2-3 kilograms of tasty lean meat”
- The mini quail farm – this farm has almost 1000 quails and
could easily support all our projects. Raising the birds is
carried out according to an original intensive method, which
was created by a Mandrogi inhabitant. The results of the research
were defended as a scientific dissertation.
- The fish farm – this is a totality of ponds and fishing
nets (settled on the river stream) that are specially constructed
for trout and carp. We plan to keep other types of fish.
- Hunting – there are huge areas of forest near our village
(64 247,40 acres). It is possible to organize hunts for water
game, rabbits, elks and bears. It is a very interesting sight
– forest hunting for capercailye and black grouse during mating
season. There are hunting dogs in our village – Russian hounds
- Family tourism – we organize foot-, water-, horse-, skiing-
and auto-tours of varying duration around Veps’ Heights in
the North-West of Russia and Karelia. We offer you contact
with nature, fishing, teaching of the rudiments of orientation
and survival etc.