Semenovo dolls

     Who did not see  a "Semenovo" doll - bright red and yellow colorings, with traditional,  almost the same flower pattern on the front of the doll?

     Semenovo doll is a very popular gift item which along with balalika, Russian samovar, Russian troika constitutes a symbol of Russia - Russian culture, Russian people and his traditions. Semenovo doll is named after the town of Semyenov, located in the Nishni Novgorod district. The place "Olenevsky Skete" was initially founded by Macarius the Venerable who built the monastery there. in 1439 he and his monks were forced by mongols to leave the place. While travelling their faith was so strong that it permitted to withhold the long trip and survive. The religious historic fame of this place brought  Old Believers" in the beginning of 17th century to the grounds of Olenevo settlement, which was the ideal place for them to avoid persecution for their religious faith. Icon painters were among them. In order to survive "Old Believers" used the skill and knowledge of icon painters and started to carve household items out of wood. Furniture, tableware, kitchen utensils, and later toys and gift items were made in bright red and yellow flowers patterns. They became very popular and the craft of wooden carving and painting was established. Later it was called "Khokhloma"( one of the traditional examples of the flower design "Khokhloma"). In 19th and 20th century the city of Semenov remained the religious center of Old Believers, who traditinally continued making what their ancestors started - the craft of "Khokhloma".

     Since 1918 "Khokhloma" painting on wood became the main craft in the city of Semenov. In 1960 the Semenov factory was established. The nesting doll with red and yellow flowers all around became an important part of the production and  a beloved souvenir of Russian people. Since then the popularity of Semenovo doll spread beyond anyone's imagination.