Pirohovo Village Museum
Pirogovo Village MuseumExcursion timing — 4-5 hours
Out on the far edge of Kiev, a full hour’s drive from the city center, is the Museum of Ukrainian Folk Architecture and Life, more commonly known as “Pirogovo Museum”. Don’t be too surprised, however, if Pirogovo is unlike any other museum you’ve been to.
Pirogovo is a unique combination of magnificent wooded landscapes and architectural compositions that wonderfully complement the natural setting.
Imagine a rolling landscape with tall hills and deep gullies that shelter placid ponds. Scattered across the hillsides, peaking out from behind scenic groves and woodland as if hiding their face from travelers’ eyes, are Ukrainian peasant cottages and mud-walled huts, village homesteads with fenced in courtyards, traditional country restaurants, barns and livestock sheds, and even village churches surrounded by... who would’ve thought!... those famous towering windmills!
To be quite honest, even if you have been told about the museum beforehand, when you actually get there you will still find yourself a bit astounded by what greets your eyes.
The museum consists of about 500 sites. Almost all are authentic residential and farm structures brought here from different regions of Ukraine. Most buildings are from the 18th and 19th centuries, but the exhibit also includes authentic cottages and churches from the late 16th century!
The structures are subdivided into 6 main thematic groups by the regions they come from: Middle Dnieper, Poltava and Sloboda, Polesia, Podolia, Southern Ukraine, and the Carpathians. These groups are all connected by gravel roads that are a pleasure to stroll on both in summer and in winter.
The different regions of Ukraine in these sections are represented by structures built in the characteristic architectural style of the region.
This means that, within just a few hours, you can take a kind of journey through the entire country of Ukraine and see how people lived in different parts of the land.
Many visitors come to see the regularly held festivals of folk arts and crafts where you can make pottery with your own hands, sew a traditional embroidered shirt, listen to a “kobzar” (traveling bard), or try your hand at the art of decorating Easter eggs (Ukrainian pysanky).
Here you can see all sorts of craftsmen at work: weavers, embroiderers, carvers, blacksmiths, potters, glass-blowers, plaiters, and folk musicians. Out on the homesteads and fields, folk groups can be heard performing jolly and plaintive Ukrainian folk songs.
You can always stop to enjoy a tasty meal at an old-fashioned country restaurant, or buy embroidered shirts, decorative towels with ornamental patterns (“rushniki”), traditional ceramic dishes and toys, wooden jewelry boxes, and many other kinds of souvenirs.
At stage shows devoted to various folk and Christian holidays, you can learn about ancient folk customs, go for a ride on an old-fashioned cart, and see how our ancestors lived 200 or 300 years ago, what they did for a living and how they had fun.
The outdoor museum also includes 5 old churches where colorful wedding ceremonies and child baptisms take place.
All in all, Pirogovo Museum is a splendid place for learning and recreation. It’s well worth it to spend an entire day there, gladdening the heart and soothing the soul...
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