Think handcrafted Russian toys, and the matroshka is usually what comes to mind. Take a closer look, however, and it turns out that, across Russia, there are countless unique, historically rooted local toy industries. For example, Lipetsk oblast has the Romanov toy.
The history of the Romanov toy dates to the sixteenth century, when boyars of the Romanov family resettled their peasants from a neighboring province to establish Romanovo, a fortified settlement in what is now Lipetsk oblast. A few decades later, Ivan Romanov, a close relative of Tsar Mikhail Romanov (the dynasty’s first tsar, reigning 1613-1645), built an ostrog, a fenced-in settlement there. By the eighteenth century, the Romanovo fort had become the town of Romanov.
Today, the town is no more. The spot where it once stood is now occupied by two villages: Lenino and Troitskoye.
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