The following outline comes from pages 53-65 of "Wooden Architecture of the Ukrainian Carpathians", John Hvozda - editor, New York 1978, published by: The Lemko Research Foundation, P.O. Box 652 New York NY 10003, text in Ukrainian and English, 286 pages, mostly illustrations.
page 48. Hyrova (Hyrowa), Syanik, Church -1716 - , ,


The Lemko Research Foundation, Inc. has undertaken the publication of this book because the Lemkos have a special affinity for wooden architecture. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that, historically speaking, the existence and development of the Ukrainian Lemko subculture has been directly related to the exploration of the extremely beautiful forests of the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains. The tall fir, silver pine, beach, oak, maple, and ash trees, covering ranges upon ranges of mountains, not only served the Lemkos well by affording them protection throughout the critical times of their history, but also provided them with splendid landscapes, industrial material, construction-building material, and fuel.

The Lemkos' material culture is based upon wood (although other types of material resources were not lacking in Lemkivschyna). Almost all dwellings, schools, churches, chapels, fortifications, as well as practically all implements and furnishings, were made of wooden material. Using mostly homemade tools, the Lemko craftsmen carved beautiful art pieces, ornaments and decorations.

The spiritual and intellectual development of the Ukrainian Lemkos is reflected in their wooden material culture. It contributed to the development of a

singular environment in which Lemkos evolved their unique personality, their spiritual attitudes, and their self-perceptions. In publishing this book, the Lemko Research Foundation is hereby acknowledging an important part of the Lemko heritage.

The illustrative material for this publication was prepared by a Lemko, who was not able to publish it in his native country. He made a study of Ukrainian Carpathian wooden architecture of the 16th-19th centuries and has masterfully re-created numerous examples of it in his drawings, which reflect not only his extraordinary ability, but also his love for and devotion to this aspect of Ukrainian culture as a whole. In publishing this book, we, as Ukrainians from the westernmost part of the historical Ukrainian territory, would like to contribute to an effort to help the peoples of the world to share in our beautiful Ukrainian culture. This publication also serves as another important proof that the land of the Ukrainian Lemkos -- Lemkivschyna -- has always been, along with the lands of the Ukrainian Boykos and Hutsuls, an organic part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Region, which, in turn, has always been an integral part of the whole Ukraine.

The absence of the author of this book from this country did not make it easy for the editor to prepare it for publication. Therefore, any shortcomings discerned in this publication should be imputed to the above circumstance, rather than to the lack of concern on the editor's part. The system of transliteration used in this publication is that which has been recommended by the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the United States. For the sake of historical continuity and uniformity the names of the localities in which the wooden structures included in this book stand are listed in Ukrainian and Polish according to Yosyfs'ka 1785-1788 i Frantsyskans'ka 1819-1820 Metryky (The Joseph, 1785-1788, and the Frances, 1819-1820. Registrars, -- containing the names of the populated localities of Galicia, the western part of Ukraine, which was acquired by the Hapsburg Monarchy in the partitions of Poland), "Naukova Knyzhka" Kyiv, 1965.

The editor, in the name of the Board of Editors, takes this opportunity to thank the members and officers of the Organization for Defense of Lemkivschyna in the United States, Canadian Lemkos' Association, and the World Lemkos Federation, as well as many other individuals and groups who gave their continuous support to the publication of this book almost from its inception.

John Hvozda


Antin Varyvoda

Ukrainian wooden architecture is a major branch of the timber architecture of all Eastern Slavs, but with its own characteristic features, which distinguish it from this style of building among other peoples. Territorial differences in geographic and climatic conditions, which are necessarily reflected in styles of construction, further subdivide Ukrainian timber architecture into three large groups: that of the central and eastern plains, that of the marshlands and wooded regions of the north, and that of the mountainous and foothill regions of the west. It is the wooden architecture of this third group, namely, that of the Ukrainian Carpathians and parts of Galicia, that is the subject of the present work.


Like all timber architecture of Ukraine, the timber architecture of the Ukrainian Carpathians, and particularly the elements of wooden church architecture, incorporates features that have survived since the Princely period in Ukraine's history. Even though the oldest preserved examples of wooden church architecture date back only to the 16th century, the basic features of this architecture are known from ancient chronicles and engravings, as well as from surviving Ukrainian stone churches dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries, which share many of the characteristic features of the local wooden architecture. Among these are: an organic relationship between external appearance and internal construction, a subordination of individual parts to the general ensemble, composition of shell with emphasis on the structure's silhouette, an absence of an accentuated facade as the main attraction, and, instead, an architectural composition that can be viewed from any vantage point. Ukrainian timber architecture is further characterized by a strict symmetry in plan composition, a clearly discernible coordination of roof forms, a building technique that defines the structure itself, the presence of arcades or galleries, wide eaves, and openings between the different parts of the building that unite the separate plan elements, and recesses in the design of roofs.

In spite of these general characteristics, numerous regional peculiarities evolved through the centuries, the result of differences in tribal traditions, climatic and geographic conditions, available building materials, and changing political and economic conditions. Nonetheless, regional variations involved, for the most part, only differences in proportion. Thus, despite similarities in building techniques and plan treatment, the wooden churches of the Ukrainian plains differ from those of the Carpathians. This difference is most readily perceived in height, for, whereas, the builders of the central regions of Ukraine strove to defy the plain's monotony by building to the skies, those of the mountains felt no urge to compete with nature's heights. And so, for example, although both Boyko churches and those of the central plain can have as many as 4 or 5 recesses, the distances between the recesses in the former are short (sometimes as little as 2 or 3 layers of timbers), while those in the latter are very long. Hence, the silhouette of many Carpathian churches resembles a cascade of narrow horizontal bands, while those of the plains, with their elongated drums, give the appearance of colossal, slender towers, rising some 30- 35 meters in the sky.

Although, as has been pointed out earlier, the oldest preserved wooden churches date back only to the 16th century, there can be little doubt that wooden church architecture in the Carpathians evolved on the basis of firmly rooted traditions of wooden folk architecture, developed here simultaneously with the settlement of the region. Over the centuries, the master builders of this region learned to create original architectural and artistic forms that manifest an organic unity of functional, structural and artistic conceptions, thereby attaining the highest artistic levels while using the simplest means.

The picturesque mountain and foothill regions of the Ukrainian Carpathians, with their extensive forests and mild and damp climate, stimulated the development of a considerable diversity of architectural forms. A number of distinct stylistic schools formed : Bukovynian, Hutsul, Boyko, Podolian, Lemko, Podhale-Zakopane, Orava, and Silesia-Dabrova. Yet, to a large extent, all displayed the traditional features of Ukrainian timber architecture, and especially its Carpathian variant: the characteristic solid timber structural system, a variety of roof forms, cantilevered galleries, wide eaves supported by brackets or consoles, porches, different techniques of board sheathing, and a great number of shingle designs.

Although many of its elements appear in the architecture of neighboring countries, and, conversely, the influence of other nations is reflected in the wooden architecture of the Ukrainian Carpathians, the traditional architecture of this region differs in appearance from that of its neighbors by a number of distinct features and architectural conceptions and forms.

Perhaps the principal feature, and the one that to a great extent determined the evolution of Carpathian wooden architecture, as well as that of Ukraine as a whole, is its style of building.

In contrast to the wooden architecture of Western Europe, in which post-and- beam construction predominated, the structural system used in Ukrainian timber architecture consisted almost exclusively of a layered solid-timber technique known as "blockwork" or the "log-cabin" style of building (zrub in Ukrainian). This technique relied on placing timbers horizontally in successive layers and jointing them at the corners to form load-bearing walls. Depending on the region and type of building, the timbers used were either left naturally round, split through the middle (that is, left round on one side) or squared, with the latter two types predominating in Ukraine. The wooden structures built on this horizontal principle consisted of separate, nearly square, hexagonal or octagonal units (klit, klity), which were the basic structural and planning modules of most wooden buildings of Ukraine, their proportions governed only by the dimensions of available building materials.

Thus a characteristic feature of this type of wooden architecture is that the total interior space, including the interior space of roofs and towers, corresponds exactly to their exterior. There are no false ceilings, no internal columns, no diagonal braces to strengthen towers, some of which reach formidable heights. Their construction is unique in that the shell of the building is at the same time its own structural support.

The old master builders worked with great skill and imagination, producing numerous variations on basic building plans and structural and decorative details. All the principal elements of construction designed for specific purposes, such as projecting roof beams, roof ridges and eaves, gallery posts and braces, door and window frames, were made part of the total architectural composition and were often decorated with ornamental carvings.

Building Materials and Techniques

The main element that governs the architectural and artistic character of any folk architecture is the available building material. In the Carpathians this material has always been wood. The most common types of wood used in the majority of buildings erected here were spruce, pine, fir and beech. Only timber of the highest quality was used in the construction of churches. It was worked with axes or cut with saws to produce squared logs (brusy), split or half-round logs (plenytsi), or boards. Round logs (kruhlyaky) were rarely used in the layered timber technique of building in the Carpathians, or in the Ukraine as a whole, with the exception of the northern region of Polissia.

The walls of Carpathian churches were traditionally made of squared or, less frequently, split logs. When the latter were used, the flat side faced the inside of the building, forming a flat wall surface, while the rounded sides gave the exterior of the structure the appearance of having been constructed entirely of round logs.

As was mentioned earlier, the layered solid-timber technique of building depends on the length of logs used. Thus the square, rectangular or octagonal units so formed were seldom longer than 8 meters to a side. More frequently, they measured between 5.5 and 6 meters. The bottom layer of each such unit was usually of the best quality hardwood, 50 to 60 cm in diameter, placed on heavy corner foundation-log posts, sunk vertically into the ground. This layer was then covered with considerably smaller in diameter (18 to 25 cm) logs of softwood. Several methods of corner jointing were used.

Before laying the timbers to form the zrub walls, the builders set a door frame, with a single-leaf door, onto the foundation layer of timbers, thus ensuring an organic unity between the walls and the entrance. Door frames in all Carpathian churches were rectangular and usually decorated with carving. Frequently, they bore the date of construction, repairs, alterations -- a veritable history of the building. The walls of each solid-timber unit (zrub) were always built with a noticeable degree of inclination toward the inside. This gave structural stability, as well as produced an optical illusion of greater height.

The square plan shape derives directly from the solid-timber technique of building. Timbers of the same length could be used in all four walls. This fundamental practical consideration, dictated by the material itself, could be modified to produce a rectangular unit, or, as a further aesthetic transposition of the round forms of masonry architecture, as well as a means of increasing interior space, to produce an octagonal shape. The square and octagonal shapes when repeated in various combinations in the roofs of churches give Ukrainian timber architecture its characteristic silhouette.

In order to preserve the timber, which once worked is prone to rotting, the exteriors of churches were covered with shingles or board sheathing. Shingles came in a variety of designs and served, in addition to their practical use, as a decorative element. For example, in Boyko churches, the use of shingles on the numerous low recesses in the roofs indicates an awareness on the part of the builders of the aesthetic effects of lights and shadows.

Another method of protecting wooden churches against water damage (annual precipitation in the Carpathians averages some 1500 mm) was the construction of wide roof overhangs or arcades (opasannia), generally supported on brackets or consoles built up of projecting wall timbers, although post-and- console assemblies were also found. These overhangs or arcades usually surrounded the entire church. Although their purpose was primarily practical, that is, to protect the foundations and lower parts of the structure from water damage, they added to the general artistic composition of the structure. Visually, they formed the first of whatever number of roofs a given church might have and served as a transition from the line of the ground to the inwardly sloping upper stages of superimposed multi-tiered roof forms.


The upper structures of Ukrainian wooden churches range from the simplest coverings for the solid-timber wall structures (zruby) to the most complex many-storied roof forms (some Carpathian churches reach a height of 18 meters) that rise like pagodas against the backdrop of forest and mountains, their silhouette imitating the pine, fir, and spruce trees that surround them.

The simplest and probably most archaic churches are those which most resemble ordinary dwellings. Known as "house-type" churches, their solid- timber walls are covered by a gable or hip roof, with only a cross to indicate that the structure is a house of worship. All other churches exhibit one of two types of roof construction: one that employs square towers and another that employs octagonal ones. The two can also be combined.

Square towers fall into two categories: 1. The square solid-timber wall structure is surmounted by a pyramid, built using the same technique of laying timbers horizontally, but on four inclined planes. There is no ceiling and all construction is exposed in the interior. 2. The square solid-timber wall structure is surmounted by a solid-timber stepped pyramid. The stepped effect is achieved by the presence of recesses (zalomy) in the inwardly sloping walls of the pyramid. Each recess is constructed by setting a solid-timber square structure with vertical walls at some given stage of the sloping pyramidal structure. Inside the church, the bands of vertical and inclined roof planes modulate the total interior space.

Octagonal towers also subdivide into two general categories: 1. The square solid-timber wall structure is surmounted by an octagonal pyramid. At the points of transition from square plan to octagonal, the four corners are either left intact or truncated, thus forming triangular pendentives. 2. The square solid-timber wall structure is surmounted by a square pyramid, which, in turn, is topped by an octagonal drum with pendentives, serving as the base for an octagonal pyramid.

Where the solid-timber wall structure itself is octagonal rather than square in plan, it is always covered by many-storied roofs consisting of truncated octagonal pyramids surmounted by octagonal drums in alternating tiers.

Cupolas were usually erected over octagonal pyramids, less frequently directly over octagonal drums. They were formed either by placing a roof covering, usually shingles, directly onto the wedge-shaped tower, or by adding an internal structure over the truncated octagonal pyramid that supported special curved beams to form a rounded, helmet-like dome. Some cupolas are accompanied by a "collar" around the base, which serves to drain off precipitation. Forged iron crosses top all cupolas and towers.

The Spatial Planning of Churches and Their Accompanying Tower Forms

Churches built in the Ukrainian Carpathian region belonged to one of three religious denominations: Roman Catholic, Creek Catholic, or Orthodox. Even the smallest community had its own church. It was usually situated on an elevated site amidst numerous trees and shrubs, and frequently commanded a picturesque view of the surrounding settlement.

Perhaps the most characteristic feature of all Ukrainian wooden churches is the clearly discernible three-fold subdivision of the plan into narthex, nave and chancel. Traditionally, churches were built along an east-west axis, with the altar facing east. In tripartite churches (those consisting of three solid-timber units -- zruby), all three components of the plan were set along this east-west longitudinal axis. In cruciform churches, which were composed of 5 or 9 plan components, the main elements of the plan also followed this same east-west orientation, with the north-south axis reserved for the transepts. In all cases the central part of the structure dominated the other parts.

The plans of Roman Catholic wooden churches remained almost unchanged throughout the entire course of their development. The nave had a rectangular plan approaching the square with the chancel of similar form, but somewhat smaller and closed off by a five-sided apse; the sacristy was smaller still and contiguous with the northern wall of the chancel. In their interior layouts very few churches had three aisles, and in their general planning and execution, most such wooden churches were modeled on their masonry counterparts, as witnessed by such details as false wooden vaults imitating brick arches, or decorative wooden columns, imitating stone and serving no structural purpose. The plans of Greek Catholic and Orthodox wooden churches, on the other hand, reveal a much greater variety, especially in the upper parts of the buildings. These churches can be divided into three principal groups:

a. Even the simplest "house-type" churches without towers adhered to the three-fold plan division. These tripartite churches were covered by a gable or hip roof, the shape of which could be modified in accordance with plan requirements. When the middle section (that is, the middle solid-timber unit) of a church of this type was built somewhat wider than the other two sections, this was usually reflected in the shape and height of the roof, which then covered only the central section. Given a greater variation in plan and treatment of interior space, each of the three parts of the church had a separate roof, the middle always being the highest. b. Tripartite churches with one, two (rarely encountered), or three towers. In tripartite churches with a single square or octagonal tower, the towers are usually pyramidal in shape with no recesses or with only one to three recesses. Tripartite churches with three towers utilize various combinations of octagonal and square towers. Some square towers have no recesses, while others can have as many as six. This group also includes churches with combinations of tower forms. Where this occurs, the towers always rise several square recesses topped by octagonal recesses. The variety of forms that this produces can be reduced to three general classes: churches in which all three towers display a combination of the two forms, churches in which only the central tower combines the square and octagonal forms, while the side towers utilize only one or the other, and churches in which only the side towers are so designed, while the central, dominant tower is homogeneous in design.

Markedly distinct in style are the Lemko churches in this group of tripartite structures. These consist of a dominating belfry tower over the western, or narthex, section, with the middle and eastern towers each lower than the one preceding it, the whole creating a dynamic composition.

c. Churches built on the cruciform plan are composed of either five, seven (rare) or nine parts, having one, three, five, seven or nine towers. In five-part cruciform churches with a single tower, the four side parts are usually covered by combination hip and gable roofs. The tower is either square or octagonal in plan or a combination of the two with several recesses. Where there are three towers (most characteristically in Hutsul churches), they are always along the east-west axis, and most frequently use a combination of square and octagonal forms. The southern and northern arms of the cruciform plan are usually covered by combination hip and gable roofs. Five-roofed cruciform churches employ a similar combination of roof forms as those with three roofs, the number of compositional variations increasing.

In nine-part cruciform churches the central tower is the tallest. The four towers on the arms of the cross-shape proper are lower, although of equal height, and the four in the corners are still lower and again equal in height. Nine-part cruciform churches need not have nine towers. They can have five or even one. Seven-part cruciform churches may have one, three or five towers. The two corner annexes making up the seven-part plan usually do not have towers. It goes without saying that the more parts and towers, the greater the number of compositional variations available to builders of cruciform churches.

Interiors of Churches

The over-all design of church interiors depended in large measure on the type of plan used and on the configuration of the roof over each separate part of the structure. The layout of the interior also depended on the design of the iconostasis, or altar screen, and on other decorative considerations.

Thus in churches with only one tower, the dominating element was the central well-lit space of the nave in contrast to the lower and darker spaces of the narthex and the chancel. In the interiors of multitowered churches, each solid-timber square part of the plan was treated as a separate unit of the structure. In all cases the tower structure was left open on the inside, revealing the multi-tiered composition of square and octagonal forms.

In both cases -- the simplest, as well as churches with the most highly developed plan and roof configurations -- the interior space was defined by the treatment of the openings between the separate units. These developed from the original door-frames cut into the zrub walls to a great variety of profiled and carved openings that in later churches almost disappear. The interior space was further articulated by the delicately carved beams, door-frames, balustrades, and above all. the richly carved and gilded Iconostases that separated the nave from the chancel. Walls were frequently decorated with frescoes executed on a high artistic level.

Windows in wooden churches played a purely utilitarian role, unlike their counterparts in other styles, where they could influence the construction and decoration of the structures. The small openings in wooden churches merely served to bring in light, primarily into the nave (usually two) and the chancel (one). Later churches added three windows in the narthex.

The most important decorative element in the church was the iconostasis, which separated the nave from the chancel. An artistic form with a long history of development reaching back to Kievan Rus, it represents a synthesis of decorative carving, painting, sculpture, and architecture. Essentially a screen with three doors composed of several tiers of icons, its dimensions, as well as the proportions of its individual parts, were governed by the over-all plan of the given church and the height of the interior space where it was to be placed. Thus in tripartite churches, the width of the iconostasis equaled the width of the nave. In cruciform churches the iconostasis occasionally occupied not only the width of the nave, but also the transepts.

Iconostases in Carpathian churches were rarely more than 4-5 tiers high. Carvings were ornamental, in low relief, generally restrained in composition, although later, the embellishment of posts and columns, the frames of icons, and especially the Holy Doors, were executed in delicate tracery-like ornamentation. The predominant ornamental motifs were usually derived from the local flora: pears, apples, sunflowers, daisies and such.

Bell towers

Over the centuries wooden bell towers evolved from simple utilitarian structures for hanging bells to complex multistoried towers surrounded by several tiers of open arcades and crowned by elaborate cupolas. Except in the case of Lemko churches, bell towers usually stood apart from the main church building, frequently imitating the silhouette of the church towers or cupolas.

In terms of external appearance, bell towers can be divided into two basic types: 1. Bell towers of the defense tower type, in which the original military functions served by machicolations and loop-holes for firearms remain a strong design element. 2. Bell towers with cupolas resembling those found on churches. This second type can also be subdivided according to the form of their cupolas: bell- towers that are surmounted by a simple pyramidal or tent-like superstructure over a square base, and those topped by an octagonal pyramid or cupola surmounting a small octagonal drum. These latter two types range from simple two-story towers to complex multistoried structures.

The most common type of bell-tower encountered is the two-storied tower. The walls of the bottom story, which was often used as the parish storage area, were built in the solid-timber technique and had a single gate. The second story, smaller than the first, was built using the post-and-beam method of construction and had the appearance of a gallery. The arches and posts were executed in a variety of designs and served as the principal decorative element. The traditional covered walk (opasannia) surrounding the first story, as well as the pyramidal roof over the square second story, indicates that the compositional principles applied in the construction of bell towers were identical to those found in churches.

Very often both stories in bell towers of this type were framed (post-and-beam) and the lower story featured exposed timber framing as a design element. Yet the external appearance of these two-storied bell towers was identical to those in which the first story was built of horizontally layered timbers.

A more complex type of bell-tower features a greater number of stories. The first story is either solid-timber or framed, and each superimposed story is smaller than the one supporting it, creating a stepped, terraced effect. Each story is surrounded by a covered gallery, the supporting arches of which rest on the solid timber or framed unit underneath.

An excellent example of the defensive tower type of bell tower that has been exceptionally well adapted by its builders to the design of the church it accompanies is the bell-tower of the Church of St. George in Drohobych. The tall square pyramidal structure of the base is surrounded near the bottom by a roof supported by consoles. At the top of the pyramid is an arcade covered by a shingled, tent-like roof. Surmounting this square in plan structure is an octagon with its own arcade covered by a shingled roof. The entire structure is topped by a large shingled cupola.


Despite wide-ranging differences in geographical and climatic conditions on the territory of Ukraine, there is surprising uniformity in the country's wooden domestic architecture. The village house, or khata, exhibits a number of common features over the entire Ukrainian territory. These include the dominance of a tripartite plan, similarities in the organization of individual parts of the dwelling, and identical principles underlying the architectural solution of the whole.

At the same time, the architecture of each region reflects that area's historical and natural conditions, the availability of different building materials, and the use of dissimilar structural techniques. It is the nuances resulting from these differences that make it possible to distinguish at least four large regions of Ukraine that have their own distinct styles of domestic architecture: Slobozhanshchyna, the Central Dnieper region, Eastern and Western Polissia and the Carpathians.

A characteristic feature of traditional Ukrainian wooden domestic architecture is its extremely simple plan configuration. This arose out of a desire to simplify the construction of walls and especially roofs, which, when made of wood or thatch, require the simplest forms to drain rainfall best. Hence the elongated rectangular plan without projections or setbacks of most village housing. The ratio of length to the depth of the structure ranges from 1:1,4 to 1:2,25 in the northern and forest-steppe regions and from 1:2 to 1:3 in the south. The depth of the structure in the north and west measures 4.5 to 6 meters (corresponding to the usual length of timbers used in the solid timber technique of building in regions with abundant supplies of wood), and 4 to 5 meters in the less wood-rich south and east.

The archaic one-room dwelling of the Chronicles no longer exists in Ukraine, except in the form of such temporary shelters as the Hutsul log cabin(kolyba) or the Volynian vegetable storage shed (stebka).The two-room type of dwelling (a living room and an entrance hall) has been preserved only in southern Transcarpathia, although at one time it was quite popular throughout Ukraine. Thus the traditional type of Ukrainian wooden village house utilizes an elongated rectangular plan divided into three parts: an entrance hall (siny), the living quarters (svitlytsia). and a storeroom (komora). Variations on these two basic types of the above tripartite plan (1. the living quarters take up one half the structure and the entrance hall and storeroom the other half on a vertical axis, and 2. the living quarters are separated from the entrance hall and store- room on a horizontal axis) produced several more elaborate interior layouts, in which the living quarters (kitchen, dining, sleeping and parlor areas) were allotted two or more separate rooms as opposed to the simpler basic plan. In the Carpathians and, to some extent, in other parts of Ukraine, livestock shelters and/or storage sheds were built on in the form of annexes to the main structure. In all cases the entire structure, covered by a gable or hip roof, appears from the outside as a single whole with little or no indication of interior space divisions.

Most scholars agree that some of the oldest forms of domestic architecture have been preserved in the Carpathians. Similarities in natural conditions, occupation, economic and cultural ties promoted the development of common features in the style of home building in this region. Compactness in the over-all composition of the living and other units of dwellings, high, softly con- toured roofs, wide roof overhangs, highly developed galleries and arcades prevail across the entire area. Simultaneously, differences in the treatment of architectural forms and details abound, making it possible to distinguish three distinct styles of domestic architecture in this westernmost part of Ukraine: Hutsul, Boyko and Lemko.

Carpathian domestic architecture does not differ in character from the region's church architecture. The basic architectural and structural elements are, for the most part, identical. In both cases, the design is based on the structural possibilities afforded by the solid timber (zrub) technique of building. At their simplest, the individual elements of houses and churches are almost identical in form, and differences are perceived primarily in their relative sizes, dictated by different needs. It has been successfully argued that the earliest wooden churches in Ukraine evolved from residential structures, insofar as the traditional tripartite Ukrainian house answered the needs of the Christian liturgy.

Before proceeding to a more detailed analysis of the different styles of domestic architecture of the Ukrainian Carpathian region, some mention should be made of two types of structures that have preserved the most archaic features of Ukrainian wooden architecture.

By far the simpler, and probably more archaic of the two, is the Hutsul kolyba, or log cabin. Far removed from any settlement, it was used as a shelter by woodcutters in winter and by shepherds in summer. As its name implies, it was built of unworked horizontally laid solid timbers and had none of the amenities of a year-round dwelling. A one-room, nearly square in plan structure, covered by a gable roof, it had an earthen floor and no windows. The walls averaged about 1.6 meters in height and the ratio of wall height to roof height was 1:1 to 1:1,4. To allow the smoke from the fire on which food was prepared to escape, an opening was left in the roof.

A far more developed form of domestic structure, which, nevertheless, has pre- served many archaic features of Ukrainian wooden folk architecture, is the Hutsul osedok, or homestead. An independent closed ensemble of living and farm buildings joined by a high fence (grazhda) around a courtyard, it forms a kind of fortress. Insofar as this type of self-contained structure effectively protected its inhabitants from enemies, wild beasts and inclement weather, it might be safe to assume that it was once found over the entire territory of Ukraine. Today such homesteads have been preserved only in the more re- mote regions of the Carpathians, standing alone, at some distance from other homesteads or villages.

The Hutsul homestead is usually rectangular in plan. All the buildings, joined by a high fence, surround a courtyard, and the entire ensemble is covered by a shingled roof usually supported by consoles rather than posts. The living quarters are located in the northern end of the ensemble, with windows and door facing south, onto the yard. The other farm buildings surrounding the yard are the sheep fold, pig sty, cow shed, barn, pantry, wood shed and such. The entire complex, including the high fence, is built of horizontally laid solid timbers. The wide overhangs of the roof, markedly inclined towards the court- yard, form a gallery all around the inside of the ensemble, allowing easy access to all parts of the structure in even the most inclement weather. There is only one entrance into the complex -- through a wide gate with a heavy door. Similar homesteads are also found on Lemko and Boyko territories, where they reflect the distinguishing features of the architecture of their regions.

This style of building living and farm premises under a single roof, in some- what modified form, is very much part of the tradition of domestic wooden architecture throughout the Carpathians. The addition of annexes to house livestock or to serve as storage space to the side or back (northern) walls of the living quarters served a very real practical purpose in the climate of this region. It afforded protection to the residential part of the structure against the cold northern winds and made it more convenient to tend the livestock through the long and snowbound winters.

The main facade of the building always faced south, and it is here that the en- trance and windows were located. Along the entire length of the front part of the house ran a gallery supported on consoles or posts. Usually this gallery was defined by a light balustrade, its entrance directly facing the door to the dwelling.

Galleries in Carpathian domestic architecture, as in the region's church architecture, were a natural outgrowth of the area's functionally justified building style. The heavy precipitation of this part of Ukraine (over 1000 mm) required wide roof overhangs (0.90 -1.20 meters or more) to drain away rainfall from the otherwise unprotected solid timber walls. Supported by consoles or posts, these overhangs naturally formed galleries, which in addition to their primary function of protecting walls, also served as open extensions of the living quarters in summer or rainy weather.

A great deal of attention was devoted to the decoration of the different elements of these galleries. Consoles were carved, posts were given various decorative forms, and balustrades, made of flat boards, were often embellished with cut-outs in intricate designs.

Roofs in the Ukrainian Carpathians were either shingled, thatched, or a combination of the two. Given the region's high precipitation and relatively moderate winds, the roofs were high and steep, their height approximately three times that of the walls. Ridges, corners and even entire roof surfaces were finely detailed. Usually hipped, many had highly ornamented gables with openings to allow smoke to escape in the absence of chimneys. In shingled roofs, the eaves and ridges were decorated with carved end boards creating delicate designs.

Although practical considerations dictated the structural details described above, the harmonious combination of functional needs with the aesthetic traditions developed over the centuries simultaneously in all spheres of Ukrainian folk art resulted in an architecture that was both exceptionally well adapted to and organically linked with the natural landscape of the region.

Despite these common characteristics found in all Carpathian domestic wooden architecture, regional differences in the treatment of architectural forms and details make it possible to distinguish three distinct styles in this region. As mentioned earlier, these are reflected in the traditional residential construction of the Hutsuls, Boykos and Lemkos.

The Hutsul house, rectangular in plan and only some 5 to 6 meters deep, is built entirely of wood. It combines a high, sloping, shingled hip roof with large areas of solid timber walls, with distinct emphasis on the rhythm of the layers of squared timbers, left their natural color, which with time assume a silvery- gray hue.

The narrow annexes (here called prytuly) serving as sheepfolds along the back and side walls of the structure were covered by the wide overhangs of the roof. Along the front wall of the building the same wide roof overhang, sup- ported by consoles or posts, formed a gallery with a balustrade and gate. Usually all these architectural details were richly carved and served as an important decorative element. The tall hip roof with gables, decorated with intricately assembled shingles, openings and carved ornaments, frequently served as the principal accent in the architectural solution of the whole.

The interior of the Hutsul house was neither plastered nor whitewashed. In- stead, the natural color and texture of wood, darkening with age, was enhanced by colorful woven hangings, carved designs on door and window frames, the main ceiling beam(svolok) and furniture (especially chests), and the traditional stove faced with ornamental ceramic tile.

The Boyko house was somewhat more elongated in plan, had a high thatched roof, and in addition to a gallery along the front of the house, frequently a second gallery along the back wall. Like the Hutsul house, it contained the living quarters and other farm premises under a single roof, although the house and entrance hall were built as a separate solid-timber unit, structurally unconnected with the other farm sections of the building. The entire structure was usually built of several solid-timber units (dupli), with the entrance hall in the center of the building leading into the living section. A narrow shed (komora or prybik) was occasionally added along the back (northern) wall. The gallery along the main facade was supported by consoles or carved posts. The entrance to the gallery was in the form of a monumental wooden arch with side frames decorated with low-relief carving. A characteristic feature of the Boyko house was its high, steeply pitched (60 degrees) thatched hip roof, in which the side slopes were especially steep, almost vertical. There were no recesses in the roof.

The Boyko interior was somewhat more modest than that of the Hutsuls, but here, too, colorful woven fabrics brought gayety and brightness to the surroundings.

As a rule, the Lemko house also consisted of the living quarters and farm buildings under a single roof. A traditional feature were the zakhaty, or narrow storage annexes, built of lathes along the northern (back) wall, on the sides, or all around the house, for holding hay, straw and such. As in the Hutsul and Boyko regions, Lemko houses were built of horizontally laid solid timbers and there were galleries supported by consoles or posts. Originally all Lemko houses were covered by thatched hip roofs. At the end of the 19th century, shingled gable roofs with wide overhangs on both sides began to replace the earlier thatch roof and soon appeared over the entire Lemko territory. In another form of roof only the ridge and the overhangs of the roof were shingled, while the rest remained thatched. The roofs of older houses were 2 or 2.5 times the height of the walls. In newer houses the ratio of walls to roof was 1:1.75. Shingle roofs have symbolically carved gables (stars, rosettes) that resemble those of the Hutsul area.

The outside walls of Lemko houses were covered with a mixture of oil and crushed brick and the cracks between the timbers were filled with lime, contrasting brightly with the solid brown background. On the inside, walls were whitewashed and doors, door-frames and shutters were frequently painted or carved.

The interior layout of the living quarters of traditional Ukrainian houses was identical in all regions. In a corner on the same side as the entrance from the hall stood the stove, with a hanging cupboard shelf for dishes (mysnyk) either next to it or on the other side of the door. In the opposite corner from the stove and extending towards it there was a wooden shelf (pill or plank bed for sleeping. In the fourth corner, its walls hung with icons and embroidered towels, stood a table with benches along the walls and one in front of the table.

The focal point of every house was the stove. About 2-2 1/2 meters in length, up to 2 m in breadth, and about 2 m high, it performed a number of functions. It had a plate for cooking, an oven for baking, a place to hold a kettle of hot water, and with a fire set either under the plate or in the baking oven, it served to heat the entire house. The smoke vent led from the stove to the flue, which was usually in the entrance hall, and which emitted the smoke through openings below the roof line or through a chimney.

Stoves came in a diversity of original designs that resemble architectural compositions. They contained various niches, shelves, interior cupboards, each fulfilling a special function. Always exquisitely decorated, they served as one of the principal decorative elements of the interior of the traditional Ukrainian village house.

page 49. Ivashkivtsi (Iwaszkowce), Turka, Church - 1783 - I, ,

On to pages 66-68, Lemkivshchyna

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Document Information Document URL: © LV Productions, Ltd.  Originally Composed: April 8th, 1996 Date last modified: May 12th, 2006