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My native town - Kolomiya
Kolomyia (Ukrainian: Коломия, Polish: Ko?omyja, Russian: Коломыя) is a town and a raion (district) centre in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (province) in Ukraine, at the Prut River. It is located at 48° 31? 50? N, 025° 02? 25? E, almost halfways between Lviv and Chernivtsi, in the centre of the historical region of Pokuttya, with which it shared much of its history.
The town has circa 68.000 inhabitants (as of 1993). It is a notable railroad hub, as well as an industrial centre (textiles, shoes, metallurgical plant, machine works, wood and paper industry). It is also one of centres of Hutsul culture.
The settlement of Kolomyia was first mentioned in 1241, during the Mongol Invasion of Rus'. Initially part of Kievan Rus', it later belonged to one of its successor states, the principality of Halych-Volhynia. In 1340 it was annexed to Poland by king Casimir the Great, together with the rest of the region of Red Ruthenia. In short time the settlement became one of the most notable centres of commerce in the area. Because of that, the population rose rapidly.
Prior to 1353 there were two parochies in the settlement, one for Catholics and the other for Orthodox. In 1412 king W?adys?aw Jagie??o erected a Dominican order monastery and a stone-built church there. About the same time, the king was forced by the war with the Teutonic Order to pawn the area of Pokucie to the hospodar of Valachia Alexander. Although the city remained under Polish sovereignity, the income of the customs offices in the area was given to Vallachians, after which time the debt was repaid.
In 1424 the town's city rights were confirmed and it was granted with the Magdeburg Law, which allowed the burghers for a limited self-governance. This moved made the development of the area faster and Ko?omyja, as it was called back then, attracted many settlers from many parts of Europe. Apart from the local Ruthenians and Poles, many Armenians, Jews and Hungarians settled there. In 1443, a year before his death, king Wladislaus II of Poland granted the city with yet another privilege which allowed the burghers to trade with salt, one of the most precious minerals of the Middle Ages.
Since the castle gradually fell into dismay, in 1448 king Casimir IV of Poland gave the castle on the hill above the town to Maria, widow of Eliah, voivod of Moldavia as a dowry. In exchange, she refurbished the castle and reinforced it. In 1456 the town was granted with yet another privilege. This time the king allowed the town authorities to stop all merchants passing by the town and force them to sell their goods at the local market. This gave the town additional boost, especially that the region was one of three salt-producing areas in Poland (the other two being Wieliczka and Bochnia, both not far from Krak?w.
The area was relatively peaceful for the last century. However, the vacuum after the decline of the Golden Horde started to be filled with yet another power in the area: the Ottoman Empire. In 1485 sultan Beyazid II captured Belgorod and Kilia, two ports at the northern shores of the Black Sea. This became a direct threat to Moldavia. In search of allies, its' ruler ?tefan cel Mare came to Ko?omyja and paid hommage to the Polish king, thus becoming a vassal of the Polish Crown. For the ceremony, both monarch came with roughly 20 thousand of knights, which was probably the biggest festivity held in the town - ever. After the festivity most knights returned home apart from 3000 under Jan Karnkowski, who were given to the Moldavian prince as support in his battles he won in the end.
However, with the death of Stefan of Moldova, the neighbouring state started to experience both internal and external pressure from the Turks. In the effect of border skirmishes, as well as natural disasters, the town was struck by fires in 1502, 1505, 1513 and 1520. In 1530 one of Stefan's successors, ?tef?ni??, invaded Poland. Most of Pokucie was captured and looted, including Ko?omyja. The following year hetman Jan Tarnowski recaptured the town and beaten the Moldavians in the Battle of Obertyn, one of the first such victories in the history of the Polish Army. This victory secured the city's existence for the following years, but the Ottoman power grew and the Poland's souther border remained insecure. In the end, in 1589 the Turks crossed the border and seized Ko?omyja almost immediately. All the burghers to take part in the defence were slaughtered while the rest were forced to pay high indemnities.
The town was returned to Poland soon afterwards, but the city's growth lost its momentum. In 1620 another Polono-Turkish war broke out. After the Polish defeat at Cecora, Ko?omyja was yet again seized by the Turks - this time the town was burnt to the ground while all of the burghers were enslaved in a yasir. After the war the area yet again returned to Poland. With the town in ruins, the starosta of Kamieniec Podolski fortress financed its reconstruction - slightly further away from the Prut River. The town was rebuilt, but it never regained its power and remained one of many similar-scaled centres in the area.
In the effect of the Partitions of Poland of 1772, Ko?omyja was annexed by Austria. However, as it provided very little profit, it was sold to the castellan of Be?z, Ewaryst Kuropatnicki, who became the town's owner. The magnate financed a new Our Lady's Church, but he lacked finance for speeding-up the city's growth. The prosperity returned to the town in mid-19th century, when it was linked to the world through the Lemberg-Czernowitz railroad. By 1882 the city had almost 24.000 inhabitants, including roughly 12.000 Jews, 6.000 Ruthenians and 4.000 Poles. Until the end of that century, the commerce attracted even more inhabitants from all-over the Galicia. Moreover, a new Jesuit Catholic church was built in Kolomyja, as it was called by German authorities, along with a Lutheran church built in 1874. By 1901 the number of inhabitants grew to 34.188, approximately half of them Jews.
After the outbreak of the Great War, the town saw fierce fights between the forces of Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary. In the effect of the collapse of Austria-Hungary, both the town itself and the surrounding region became disputed between renascent Poland and Western Ukrainian National Republic. However, during the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1919, it was seized without the fight by forces of Romania and handed over to Polish authorities. After the Polish-Soviet War it remained in Poland as a capital of a powiat within the Stanis?aw?w Voivodship. By 1931 the number of inhabitants grew to over 41.000 inhabitants. The ethnic mixture was composed of Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Hutsuls, Germans, Armenians and Hungarians, as well as of descendants of Valachians and othernationalities of former Austria-Hungary. With the development of infrastructure, the town became a major railroad hub, as well as the garrison city of the Hutsul Rifle Regiment, probably the only purely-Hutsul military unit in history.
After the outbreak of the World War II of 1939 the town was thought of as one of the centres of Polish defence of the so-called Romanian Bridgehead. However, the Soviet invasion from the east made these plans obsolete and the town was captured by the Red Army. In the effect of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the town was attached by the Soviet Union to the Ukrainian SSR. In 1940 most of the local Poles were arrested by the NKVD and sent to Gulag system or to various Soviet prisons. In 1941 the town was seized by Nazi Germany. During the German occupation most of city's Jews were murdered by the Germans. Initial street executions of September and October of 1941 took the lives of approximately 500 people. The following year the remaining Jews were massed in a local ghetto and then murdered in various concentration camps, mostly in Be??ec. Several hundred Jews were kept as slave workers in a work camp and then murdered in 1943 in a forest near Szeparowka.
When the Soviet Army drove the Axis forces out, the town with the area was reattached to the Soviet Ukraine and the remaining Poles were expelled to Poland. It now remains a part of Ukraine, independent since 1991.
Kolomyia's Museum of Hutsul Folk Art
The historical traditions of living and creating crafts are collected in Kolomyia's museum of Hutsul folk art. This museum represents woodworks, embroidery, carpeting and closing, ceramics, Easter eggs, glass drawing, works with metal and leather.
The idea of establish museum of Hutsul folk art appears among intelligent people at the end of XIX century. One of the biggest advocate of this idea was Ivan Franko (Ukrainian philosopher,poet, and writer second half of XIX century and begining of XX century). But only in 1926 was made plan to organize the museum, and in 1927 Bolodymyr Kobryns'kyj started to creat it. He was deepest admirer of Hutsul folk art, and he spent a lot of time and money for establishing this museum. Some exhibits were donate by Ukrainian intelligentsia from their own collection and some of them was collected from villages. Only on December 31 1934 museum was officially open.
The museum had a lot difficulties. Because museum was based on donations, there was not enough money for scientific work; museum was open only one day per week. Even in this conditions museum as a cell of Ukrainian culture was not welcome to the Polish government. ( At that time this part of Ukraine was under Polish power). Museum was closed for some time in 1937 and reopen under pressure of public. Many valuable exhibits was destroy during World War II by Nazi. But museum continue to live and develop in present days. At present time museum fills up with new exhibits from the modern artists.
You can see on the picture one part of the museum collection: interior of village house from the middle of XIX century. The house build from wood has the stove made from a ceramic tile, wood bed and cradle with carvings and covered by fabric, and household items as ceramic dishes, hat, sticks, leather bags. The museum has collections: woodcuts, works from metal and leather, ceramics, Easter eggs, glass drawing, embroidery, carpets, clothes and shows evolution of folk art from the end of XVIII century to the present time.