Collectible Dolls from Sergiev Posad and Tver.
Sergiev Posad has a long history of toy manufacturing. The "Settlement of Sergius" - named in honor of St. Sergius of Radonezh (1314-1392) - is a fairly large city and the administrative center of Sergiyevo Posadsky District in the Moscow Oblast. It is a city with a rich heritage that grew up around one of the greatest of Russia's many monasteries, the Trinity Sergiyeva Lavra. This many-named monastery (aka Trinity Monastery, aka The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, aka Troitse Sergiyeva Lavra) was founded in 1345. It is considered the most important Russian monastery and is the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Due to the town's name having such strong religious connections, 1930, the Soviet authorities renamed it "Zagorsk" as a tribute to the now-forgotten Russian revolutionary Zagorsky. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the name Sergiev Posad was restored. Matryoshka dolls from this town, whether they be Zagorsk or Sergiev Posad dolls are highly collectible.
The town of Tver also made many interesting toys and dolls. In days of yore, Tver was once the capital of a powerful medieval state with ties to Alexander Nevsky, Grand Prince Vladimir and the Novgorodian traders. Tver too had an identity crisis, as its name shifted from Tver (1135-1930), to Kalinin (1931-1991), and subsequently back to Tver after the collapse of Communism. Kalinin was Mikhail Kalinin (1875-1946, one of Stalin's powerful henchmen, who was born nearby. Tver is located 110 miles north of Moscow. Tver was once the capital of a powerful medieval state. Dolls from Kalinin or Tver are some of the finest made from the late 20th century.