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Original Gifts to Bring Home From Kazakhstan

Unique presents that won’t weigh down your luggage

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Instagram: @rizabowl @tartpa (Collage by QazMonitor)
Instagram: @rizabowl @tartpa (Collage by QazMonitor)

Tired of stale (and often pricey) duty-free selections at the airport? QazMonitor recommends two local gift shops from Almaty and Nur-Sultan whose unique products leave most souvenir sellers to pale in comparison. This week’s selection of amazing Kazakh-themed items features Tartpa and RIZA bowl.

Send a postcard

Almaty-based studio Tartpa creates postcards, stickers, notebooks, and posters with illustrations by local artists. The brand also hosts occasional workshops that teach people how to make felt mats, hand-made notebooks, collages, illustrations, and all sorts of crafts.

We highly recommend their postcards featuring all kinds of cultural references: from two kese (tea cups) cheering to quotes from popular Kazakh songs. For a slightly more romantic pick, check out their ‘shyn zhyurekten’ (‘from the bottom of my heart’) card.

If you prefer cityscapes, Tartpa also offers cards and notebooks with popular sites in Almaty.

If you want to go to see Tartpa studio, head to Nauryzbai Batyr 108. They are located on the second floor of Umai school, and are open on weekdays (best to contact them in advance).

Tea party made perfect

For those who love more practical presents with a hint of Kazakh motifs, we recommend RIZA Bowl. This is a side project of Sanim Parit, an engineer working in an oil and gas company in Nur-Sultan. The name itself offers a clever wordplay on the phrase ‘be grateful’ (‘riza bol’) and the shop’s original product, unique pottery which she makes herself. You can be sure your gift is one of a kind.

Sanim’s portfolio also features ceramic coasters for teabags, mugs, pots, and keses. Most of the things you will find on her Instagram page are sold out, so look carefully for what goodies are available.

“A customer requested for tea bag coasters saying that tea will soon become a luxury commodity, and tea bags will need to be brewed several times. We hope he is wrong and our income will grow in accordance with the prices in the store. Personally, with these plates, I would brew a tea bag twice, even if I was a millionaire,“ says Sanim on her Instagram. We totally agree.

If you would like to purchase a ready-made item, or place a custom order, you can contact Sanim directly via WhatsApp (find link in RIZA bowl’s Insta bio).