Kosiv – Rich with Arts, Crafts and Local Artists

There are few small cities in Ukraine more worth visiting than Kosiv. Situated in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast of western Ukraine, this fascinating little city is well over 500 years old. Today, the city is well noted for being a place of natural beauty and incredible craftsmanship. But it certainly wasn’t always this way. Nestled in the midst of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains, this ancient city has had a long and sometimes difficult history.

The first documented reference made to a settlement by the name of Kosiv can be found in a royal charter dated 31 September 1424. At this time Kosiv was a small Hutsul settlement founded near the Rybnica River. The settlement featured remnants from a small castle which was most likely destroyed by the Turks prior to this date. At some point during the settlement’s history, it disappeared for a short while only to be rediscovered and rebuilt again a short while later. The initial settlement is now referred to as Old Kosiv. By the 19th century Kosiv was thriving. The settlement had grown into a noteworthy city, fueled by the hundreds of people who traveled here to make use of Dr Tarnawski’s spa. It was during this time that Kosiv in Ukraine first became the center of the Kosiv District. Kosiv has since fallen under the control of Poland, Austria, the USSR, Germany and the Soviet Union. Fortunately, today the city is a part of the independent country of Ukraine.

What is perhaps most interesting about the people living here is that most of them are the descendants of serfs and peasants. Their ancestors were incredibly poor, suffering a lot and living difficult and unpleasant lives. Fortunately slavery was abolished in this part of the country in 1848. These former slaves were then able to use the skills and crafts that they had been forced to use on the behalf of others to create a life for themselves. Today, Kosiv is one of the richest crafters towns in Ukraine. In fact the town is famous for the many excellent artists who practice a variety of traditional forms of craftsmanship. Here you will find finely crafted wooden items, woolen clothing, linen, embroidery, woven goods, ceramics and pysankas. It is said that there is an artist in almost every house in Kosiv and the residents of this city have kept these ancient crafts alive over the centuries. Even if you are not planning on visiting Kosiv for the incredible diversity and exquisite beauty of the hand-made goods produced here, you may want to visit for the sheer beauty of the surrounding countryside. The air here is crisp, the water is clear and the landscape is breathtaking. So pack in your camera and your wallet and come and visit Kosiv in Ukraine.

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