There is a ritual that every person has when nearing the end of a travel journey. This ritual allows us to bring a piece of that country’s essence back home with us. Yes, I am talking about acquiring some local souvenirs that make us remember the fun we had in those places. While there is a massive trend of buying fridge magnets, let me tell you that from Romania, you can take home other more unique items that will perfectly summon up your experience.
Even though the custom of wearing Romanian costumes has worn off in the big cities, there are still many villagers who dress up from top to bottom in traditional Romanian attire. This mainly happens on Sundays at church, or on national holidays. The clothes are white with intricate patterns. The blouse usually has flowers embroidered on the chest and arms area, while the pants are kept simple. Woolen cloths are used for vests, adding warmth and style to the wearer. And, last but not least, the traditional footwear called “opinci” is made out of rectangular-shaped leather strips, tied together with leather laces. Romanians usually wear these over thick socks made out of wool in the winter. Romanian clothing can be an excellent gift for yourself or others. The blouses are especially sought after since the airy material makes them perfect for summer walks or a day at the office.
One can find traditional Romanian clothing all over Romania, in souvenir shops, antique markets, or clothing booths. It can even be found at the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Because the design of the clothing can vary across Romania, this museum is the perfect place to see how the style of the clothes has metamorphosized through each region of the country. After exiting the museum, you’ll have a better sense of which style you’d like to find when searching for a clothing souvenir.
As you may know, the traditional Romanian beverage is the “ţuică,” a drink that creates friendships. Romanians offer ţuică to all those that enter their households, to welcome them. This is also the case at weddings, christening, and so on. The strongest type of ţuică can reach up to 60% alcohol and is made out of distilled plums. The majority of Romanians have this beverage in their homes; thus, it was a must to mass-produce it. Ţuică can be found in all large convenient stores and also comes in tiny bottles, to be easily transported by you back home, on a car, or a plane. The taste of this drink is unique, and it’s a great way to surprise your friends. They will not expect it to be so strong, and their immediate reactions will surely be very amusing.
If you’ve tried ţuică once and fell in love with it, then let me tell you where you can find the highest quality of ţuică in Romania. This way, you can buy your drink souvenirs directly from the source, and learn one or two things about the way this product is made and why it is so special. Distileriile Bran in Satu Mare and Atelierele Zetea in Medieşu Aurit are the two top plum distilleries in the country. While the Atelierele Zetea distillery goes for a more traditional approach, having the same recipes for over 100 years, Distileriile Bran reinvented cocktails with ţuică bases, trying to be appealing to the younger crowd. Either way, both distilleries shouldn’t be missed. Look out for their more peculiar-shaped bottles, for those make for the best souvenirs.
The ancestral craftsmanship of Horezu is widely spread. This small town has large quantities of clay in its soil. From this clay, the villagers create masterpieces, colorful plates with folkloric motifs. If you believe that the best kind of souvenir is the one that you can create yourself, then the Ceramica Pietraru Shop in Horezu will certainly spark your interest. Here you can learn to paint the Romanian symbols for Christianity and prosperity. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation, and Romanian artisans are excited to teach you the ins and outs of their artform. If Horezu is too far from the places you came to visit, then know that such plates can be bought in souvenir shops across Romania, and can even be seen at the Village Museum (Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum) in Bucharest. Here the plates are incorporated in the traditional houses moved from all corners of the country, sitting on old tables and walls as ornaments.
It is easy to get excited when entering a souvenir shop in Romania. Our items are rich in color and diverse, stealing your attention. Next time you’re looking for souvenirs, don’t forget that there are perfect alternatives to the already ordinary fridge magnets. The above-written items have a lot more personality to them, making you take home a part of Romanian culture developed over many generations.
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