Kolomyia – Color and Crafts Represent the Hutsul Culture
Kolomyia, or 'Kolomyya', is a beautiful city that lies on the banks of the Prut River within the province of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast where it acts as a separate raion in the west of Ukraine. It also acts or serves as an administrative centre for the district of the Kolomyisky Raion.
Kolomyia is part of a historical region known as the Pokuttya, with an estimated population of over 68,000 people. Lviv and Chrernivtsi lie on either side, making up the overall area. Like most of the cities in Ukraine, industry plays a notable role in Kolomyia’s economy and includes textiles, metallurgical plant, shoes, machine works and the wood and paper industry.
As you make your way around the city you will notice that there is a distinct cultural feel and background to Kolomyia. It is in this Ukrainian city that you will observe the traditional Hutsul culture presented by the many colorful and intricate craft works. For centuries this cultural group has occupied the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, but can be found in other areas such as Romania, Bukovina, Maramures, Slovakia and Poland, being identified as a sub-ethnos group.
It was in 1241 that the settlement of Kolomyia, which was originally part of the Kievan Rus and later the principality of Halych-Volhynia, was mentioned for the first time during the Mongol invasion of Rus. In 1340 King Casmir III gave the region over to Poland. Soon Kolomyia became one of the most successful centers for commerce, thus the population increased dramatically until 1530.
The Magdeburg law was applied in 1424 and it was granted city rights, allowing Kolomyia a limited form of self governance. The result? Development increased, attracting foreigners from all over Europe. In 1443 the city of Kolomyia was granted a fine privilege of allowing the burghers to trade one of the most sought after minerals during the Middle Ages – salt. A year later King Wladislaus II of Poland died. The area lived in relative peace until 1485 when the Sultan Beyazid the II captured two ports along the Black Sea known as Belgorod and Kilia. Much occurred thereafter with the recapturing of Poland and the Ottoman Empire ruling.The most distinct part of Kolomyia’s history, however, was its capture by Nazi Germany in 1941. Since 1991 the city of Kolomyia has become independent and remains as part of Ukraine.