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Kolomyia

Our next stop is Kolomyia. “Kolomyia is not a rubbish dump, it’s a city!” These words from a traditional Hutsulian lively song don’t convince one in the city’s grandeur, because it’s a fact. Kolomyia is a myth, a fairy tale and… reality. Kolomyia was among the largest cities of Galicia -after Krakow, Lviv and Peremyshl. There are several versions about the origin of its name. The most convincing one is that it came from the Serbo-Croatian word “kolomyie” (a deep pot-hole filled with water). In the Galician-Volhynian chronicle it is mentioned under the year 1241 as “a profitable city” of Prince Danylo of Galicia. In 1405 it obtained Magdeburg right. In course of its history it was assaulted more than once by the Tatars, Cossacks, Turks, and opryshky. Because of floods caused by the Prut River the center of town was moved to a safety place. After these lands passed to Poland the Ukrainian community was supplemented by big groups of Poles, Jews, Germans and Austrians. The city remained an important section of the transit route from the lower Danube reaches to Western European cities. In the 19 th century, on the initiative of the Austrian government, colonies of German settlers were founded in the outskirts of the city such as Baginsberg, Mariagilf, Fleberg, Rozenhek. The city did not lag behind other cities of the empire, which is testified by the fact that Archduke Karl served with the army in Kolomyia. Great changes took place in the city after the railway was built in 1866, and petroleum production expanded in Galicia. At the same time, thanks to such outstanding figures as Gvido de Batalia, S.Vitvytsky, O.Kolberg, F.Karpinsky, L.Veigel, and V.Shukhevych, Kolomyia turned into an important cultural center. In 1870 the first ethnographic exhibition was arranged in the city. The emperor Franz Josef I who visited the exhibition was surprised by the level of Hutsulian art. So it was not by mere accident that at the world exhibition in Paris Hutsulian culture obtained its own pavilion within the framework of culture of Eastern Austro-Hungary. Fires, the First and Second World Wars in part destroyed the architectural face of the city.

Notwithstanding its stormy history, present-day Kolomyia is distinguished for an original and comfortable climate. Every Thursday early in the morning (from 3 to 8 A. M.) an embroidery market is working in Kolomyia, where you can buy or order an embroidery you like directly from the master.

Places of interest are situated in the center of town. One of them is the building of the town hall (1877; 1 Hrushevsky St.). Its predecessor burnt down in 1865 together with the archives. J. Kobrynsky Kolomyia Museum of Folk Art of Hutsulia and Pokuttia (25 Teatralna St.) occupies the premises of the Ukrainian people’s home. Its first exhibition took place on December 31, 1934. Not far away there is “Pysanka” museum (painted Easter egg), the only museum of its kind in the world. Its collection contains 6,000 pieces from Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Egypt. It is also worth visiting Museum of the History of Kolomyia (41. Maapa St.). The oldest architectural monument of the city is the wooden Annunciation Church (1587, 2 Karpatska St.).

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