The centre of Lincoln is not worth a visit, at least not when there are more interesting parts of Lincoln to visit if pushed for time. Nothing but the same crappy High Street shops to be found in every other town centre. Clone Town writ large!
Pass through the Stonebow, to the top end of the High Street, up through The Strait, up Steep Hill, the higher you climb the more interesting it gets, until finally you reach the Bailgate, Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral.
On the way up you may wish to make a detour to The Collection, a museum and art gallery complex, though do not expect any banners showing what exhibitions are on as the City Council will not allow. They are happy to sell off their heritage, for example The Lawn, happy to allow many ugly eyesores to be erected, but will not allow The Collection to display banners.
Most unexpected was a Russian doll shop with a very charming and helpful Russian called Marina behind the counter.
Annushka has an amazing collection of Russian dolls. Worth the climb up the hill to pay a visit, which is why I got no further.
There are many theories as to the origins of Russian dolls, matryoshka (Russian: Матрёшка). I will let Annushka explain the little wooden doll that for over 100 years has been a symbol of nature, motherhood and the everlasting circle of life:
The history of Russian Matryoshka dates back the latter stages of the 19th century, although there are a number of theories as to how matryoshka first appeared. One theory is that it all began when a small toy figure of a kind, old Japanese gentleman was brought to Mamontov’s toy shop in Moscow. The figure of Fukurum, who was meant to bring happiness, prosperity and wisdom, could be opened to reveal his four pupils all inside each other. It is believed that this Japanese toy became the inspiration for the world famous Russian Matryoshka dolls that we now know and love.
The shop’s wood-turner, Vasiliy Zvyozdochkin, made the original figures, with painter Sergey Malyutin bringing them to life as boys and girls. Their legacy lives on to this day with traditional dolls still being made in numerous craft and toy shops across Russia.
The dolls are made from the wood of lime trees seasoned for at least two years.
The dolls come from Russian villages where it is the tradition. Often it is the only source of income. The men carve the wood, the women paint the dolls.
The dolls are nested, one within the other.
Annushka has dolls of 5-6-7 pieces which are quite common, 9-10 piece and there is even a 20 piece.