Semyonov is the historical center of wooden art. This forested land was settled in the 17th century and attracted a large number of skilled craftsmen out of the Old Believers and other artisans who dealt with wood carving, wooden-ware production with the bright and inimitable Khokhloma paintings.
Semyonov has entered the list of historical inhabited places. The town’s structure plan was created by a famous Russian architect Y.A. Ananyin. He used the architectural concept of a French town with all streets coming together to one square.
The solid merchants’ houses of the Rekshinsky, Nosovy, Shlyapnikovy, Kiselevy families will remind visitors about the town’s memorable merchant past. In one such house –a two-story mansion that once belonged to the old believer merchant Peter Sharygin – Semyonov Museum of History and Arts has been located since 1980. The first museum’s exhibits were unique works of local craftsmen that were collected and curated by G.P. Matveyev – a founder of a decorative wood processing school that later became the production association “Khokhloma Painting”.
Wood carving, wooden sculpture and traditional Semenovo toys are exhibited in the museum along with the best examples of khokhloma paintin,. Guests can enjoy folk holidays “At Semyon the Spoon Player’s” devoted to the local people’s customs and traditions. In 2013 the Museum of People’s Lifestyle was opened: Semyon the Spoon Player’s house. This museum’s exposition gives a chance to visit a real Russian house where the lifestyle of Semyonov peasants of past centuries is shown.
Saint Nicolas Church, build by old believers, the Nosovs, at the end of the 19th century, as well as merchants’ mansions and retreats tell about the old believer’s past.
One can see how the Golden Khokhloma and beautiful matryoshka dolls are born at the arts and crafts factories: “Khokhloma painting” and “Semyonovo painting”. These factories’ production has won international acclaim. At “Khokhloma painting” guided tours are held as well as workshops on painting the matryoshka dolls. A museum and tourist complex “Golden Khokhloma” will show its guests the splendor and variety of products created by the Semyonov craftsmen. One can also order a lunch served in “royal dishes” at the factory café.
A festival called “Golden Khokhloma” is held in Semyonov every June. There one can visit “Crafts Fair” and “Craftsmen Town“. From 2013 the festival has acquired an international status.