A Giant Easter Egg Is Just One Attraction Kolomiya Has To Offer
Towering ducks, coffee pots, Paul Bunyan, mini-Stonehenge monuments made of refrigerator doors, bovines and 12-story apples may dot the roadside’s of America, and while the town of Vegreville in Alberta, Canada boasts a 26 foot long and 18 foot wide pysanka Easter egg that spins like a weather vane and was constructed in the 1970s to honor the centennial year of the Mounties, the Ukrainian town of Kolomiya wins the prize for the prize for turning a roadside structure into a museum.
Intricately constructed in geometric patterns of pink, white, burgundy and brown, Kolomiya’s Pysanka Museum is just one of the artistic attractions of this Ukrainian city located “in the corner” abutting the Carpathian foothills and an equal distance between L’viv and Chernivtsi. A monument to Ukraine’s most celebrated art form internationally, the Pysanka Museum displays a host of handcrafted eggshells with delicately drawn designs and patterns unique to every region of the country.
With a population akin to Luzerne, Switzerland or Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kolomiya records a long artistic history, and was home to a myriad of poets, writers and artists until the 19th century. Once considered a vibrant center for potters, Kolomiya’s artisans exported up to individual pieces of pottery daily for years. One of the oldest settlements in the Galician region dating back to 1241, the city and its surrounding region endured many masters through the centuries beginning with the first partition of Poland in 1772 until the city came under Austrian rule and later fell to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during the Second World War.
Backpackers were the first intrepid travelers to the city, but soon, tourist operators sprouted persuading local painters, potters blacksmiths and woodworkers to provide demonstrations to visitors. One such artisan, Dmytro Shkriblyak, proudly claims a family history of woodworking. Indeed, Franz Josef, the Austrian monarch, was so taken by the work done by Shkriblyak’s great grandfather that he released his son from 20 years of mandatory military service. Three generations of the Shkriblyak family’s works are on display at the Hutsul museum.
Kolomiya may not have been on travelers’ lists in the past, but the Kolomiya of today bursts with tourist possibilities, in part, because of its proximity to the Carpathian Mountains as well as its preservation of ancient Ukrainian artistic traditions, proudly celebrated by the next generation.