Golden Khokhloma Museum and Tourist Complex

Egor Aleev/TASS
You can choose one of the small, cosy hotels in Gorodets for your overnight stay and in the morning, continue on your way to the town of Semenov, which lies some 70 kilometres (43 miles) away. This is where Russia's most famous souvenirs – painted nesting dolls, or matryoshki - are made. Although Moscow Oblast is considered to be the birthplace of Russian matryoshka, the majority of these bright souvenirs are made in Semenov. The local hereditary craftsmen or, rather, craftswomen (as the factories are almost exclusively staffed by women) are virtuoso masters of the famous Khokhloma painting style. This style of painting, with its rich ornamentation and use of bright reds and golds, has been named in honour of the local Khokhloma village. The craftswomen of Semenov paint dishes, furniture, interior design items and even computer mice.

You can watch the painters at work at one of the local factories, where you will also have an opportunity to make your very own painted matryoshka or wooden spoon. Every year, during the third weekend of June, Semenov hosts the Golden Khokhloma Festival. The artisans always prepare something spectacular for the show, while the factories organise free tours.