Traditional Ukrainian Village Homes

Olga tours historical buildings made of wood, wattle and daub, and thatch roofing. Compare the cost and lifespan to modern home.


5 thoughts on “Traditional Ukrainian Village Homes”

  1. Owen

    A huge amount of natural building knowledge has been lost. You once had tons of people who knew how to use the local lime plasters. When cement came along people thought it was the greatest thing ever (they thought that about DDT too). Now they are finding out cement was ll it cracked up to be but the lime plaster knowledge has already been lost. Knowledge that had been learned and improved on for hundreds of years was lost in a single generation.

  2. Owen

    Having been there I will make some useful first hand comments. One of my favorite places to visit in Ukraine and highly recommended personally by me. It is just outside Kiev about 25 miles or so. Make a deal with your taxi or driver to pick you back up in a few hours as there was no taxi stand. It was referred to as the Outdoor Museum then, not sure about now. It covers a large area so take your walking shoes. As the narrator said , if you understood her, the different areas of the place represent buildings from different regions or areas the buildings came from all over Ukraine from the Urals to Carpathia. These buildings were relocated from all over Ukraine to this one area. Some are quite old. In case you didn’t notice the ceilings are often quite low as people were shorter plus you wanted a smaller area to heat. Many of these have Russian reverse flow masonry stoves. Massive things that the whole family slept on top of to keep warm. The actual ovens were like pizza ovens where you pushed what you wanted to cook deep in the stove. The walls on some of the houses are over 2 feet thick. Those strings you saw on the doors can be removed for you by the caretaker ladies at each house for a few dollars so you can take pictures or see things close up. English may or may not be spoken. That black church is of wood stave construction using vertical boards and quite old. You can pick up a guide at the entrance if you want one for a very reasonable fee. The official guides will wear a badge given by the Ukrainian Tourism Bureau but there can be unofficial tour guides as well. The official guides can be very good because they know quite a bit about the place and can provide a lot of insight plus translate things into English for you. Busy place on a nice day on the weekend, slower during week days. If you want to see the best natural building techniques from 100 years ago this is best the place I know of. Poorly built buildings didn’t last. It is a Ukrainian National Treasure. So if you find yourself in Kiev make sure you take it in. Very different experience from the War Memorial in the city which can be quite emotionally moving. There are some water fountains located sparsely around but suggest you take a bottle of water with you to make it comfortable. Oh yeah and if you get a guide they know all the staff and you will get the VIP treatment.

    • Nice report. Thanks Cliff. Ukraine has been on my “maybe I’ll visit someday” list. However, the recent political turmoil is disturbing. Not sure how dangerous Kiev is.

      One odd thing is I’ve never heard any natural builders talk about this place. There are lots of similar museums and I guess this one is too far out of the way for most Americans. Personally, I LOVE places like this and enjoy poking around to seek out building details and get a sense of what it must have been like to live way back when.

    • Thank goodness that you have been here to provide a full explanation as to the structural features that we were looking at ! There obviously was a slight difference as to what we are interested in seeing on this website, and what the mission of the Ukranian video maker is – apparently she runs a culture and social affairs blog and video channel – it seems to me that she wanted to show off the whole village as a tourist attraction, which is why she was dashing around the place at such high speed. It does illustrate, though, how if any one of us set out to make an educational video about our property, how NOT to do it…

      Cliff, thank you so much for all the detail telling us what the village contains – if either yourself or anyone else goes there in the future, please take a proper fully detailed video of it for us all here…

      • Phil

        Not sure there would be enough video tape to record everything that is there and do it justice. First hand works well so take a plane over and check it out personally. These buildings were made right or you died. You froze to death if you didn’t insulate enough or died from carbon monoxide poisoning if the fireplace was cracked or inferior. No carbon monoxide sniffer on the wall. Natural building materials was all they had and they learned over time how to use them correctly and to their best. The ones who didn’t died. Simple natural selection or survival of the fittest in what can be a very harsh environment.


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