Hut Hunting in Kiev
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
This is probably the biggest museum I have ever been to in my life. It's not really a museum in the traditional sense- there is no roof, though there are hundreds of buildings scattered around 370 acres of Ukrainian fields. These are original houses and churches from different regions of Ukraine which were actually disassembled, hauled to the museum and reassembled. Some of the structures are several hundred years old and their interiors are exactly as they were in their hut hey-day.
I hereby present: The National Museum of Folk and Architecture. Please note the amount of hut pictures has been significantly edited but in order to relay at least a semi-realistic experience I have decided to include more huts than advisable.
Imagine taking this apart shingle by shingle and then putting it back together again, the EXACT SAME WAY. I can't even properly wait out drying nails.
My first hut spotting. Look at me being so naive in my not-yet-heat stroking posture.
If you know how to negotiate, you can ride a horse here too.
The amount of flowers growing everywhere really made this feel like a real village. Each village had at least one babushka tending to the gardens and taking care of all the home contents. This is actually a lot of work considering that the huts are made of earth clay and the floors need to be repaired by hand.
One of the unique hut interiors with hand painted walls. Every hut layout was the same: foyer, main room to the right and storage and farming equipment room to the left.
Sometimes the equipment room was used as a family room for the second generation. But each family unit always occupied just one room where people slept, ate, cooked and received guests.
Dried herbs hung in all the huts. The inhabitants of is particular one were obsessed with gooseberries. Needless to say, the smell inside each house was fantastic.
The neat thing about this museum is that it stands on the site of an ancient village, called Pirogov (which means pie, yum!).
Embroidered everything is a fashionable must if you're going to be living in Ukraine.
The traditional vishivanka! Those flower patterns aren't just pretty, each region has its own unique design.
There were many windmills, but this one is from Kharkiv - where I am from!
This church was still being assembled while we were visiting. It's cool to see the process of how this is put together. Right down the road from this church, a movie was also being filmed, using the old villages as backdrops.
This church was actually operational! You can come in, pray, see Jesus paintings. Behold!
The priest robes are standing in the right corner - these were very elaborate and embellished robes with golden thread and were passed down to the next successor priest.
These little round huts are not in fact for round little people, but for bees. Ukrainian honey tastes incredible by the way.
What's that, another hut? Brilliant, let's have a look inside.
The famous poet, Taras Shevchenko, beams down from his adorned painting on the wall, and below that on the ground is a hand-painted chest, with a traditional Mamay playing his bandura.
I liked the blue theme of this hut.
The stove (outlined in blue) has several functions - cooking food, heating the house, and heating the butt of whoever gets lucky enough to sleep on top of it. You don't see that at IKEA.
Just throwing in an overly aggressive orthodox church interior to mix things up a little. But if you think the huts are over, you're wrong.
I know what you're thinking - is that all gold? Wood carved panels gilded in gold, absolutely.
It's back to school time for me!
Old Ukrainian schools didn't have grades - you just show up and try to learn something. Once you know how to read, write and do some math you can be on your merry way to till the field.
Rejoice, for this is my last hut and it is no other than the Taras Shevchenko family hut. How's that for an exit? This was in his family and served as a home well into the 20th century.
Note the hay on the floor and the fresh herbs hanging everywhere. The grass thatched roof made each of these huts amazingly cool inside - a very welcome change from the crazy heat we had outside that day.
Everyone knows the Scandinavians know how to utilize interior space but the Ukrainians do it better. Note the long bench on the right - this served to seat multiple guests at parties and also as additional bedding. The actual bed is on the very left, right behind the stove. A large chest serves as storage and seating for the table.
A bit of a different stove from the blue hut we saw before. Look at the baby cradle handing above the parent's bed on the left. We saw this in multiple homes.
I hope you enjoyed my tour of Ukranian huts :)