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Showing posts from August, 2013

The Ukrainian Cultural Center in Tallinn: Preserving Vanishing Arts and Crafts

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One of the highlights of my trip to Tallinn was my unexpected tour of the Ukrainian church and UkrainianCulturalCenter. The cultural center is located in a beautiful 14th century building located within the medieval walls of Tallinn’s OldTown.

The center includes a museum, which was created “to help preserve disappearing cultures.” The museum showcases Ukrainian arts and crafts, as well as exhibits from Estonia, Russia, and the United States.
The GrusbekeTower, located about 25 meters from the center, now belongs to the center and has a collection of hand-made mechanical toys, as well as two wooden looms that are still used.


An integral part of theUkrainianCulturalCenteris the Labora Workshops. Medieval arts and craftsare taught and made with help of tools from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The center also promotes Ukrainian culture by offering workshops in making Ukrainian crafts.
A very interesting part of Labora is the Tallinn Paper Mill & Press, “designed to preserve vanis…

Remnants of Merchants' Hoists in Riga

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Although not nearly to the same extent as in Tallinn, remnants of the merchants' hoisting mechanisms remain on several of the medieval houses in Riga.






                                                                             a granary from the 18th century

Remnants of Merchants’ Hoists in Tallinn

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Tallinn’s OldTown used to be an important trading city on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Fortunately, a majority of the medieval buildings have survived, including many of the merchants’ houses.
The attic spaces—and sometimes several of the upper floors—of these houses were used to store the merchants’ goods.
The merchandise was hoisted to the storage areas with ropes, which were wound by winches. The storage levels had special portals for the goods to enter. Wooden beams were attached to the buildings above the openings to guide the rope.
Quite a few of these protruding beams and portals remain in the city. Some of the beams have ropes and hooks, but these are probably more recent.











Boot Scraper in Koropets

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I visited two villages where an ancestor of mine lived/worked. The villages are about an hour from Ivano-Frankivsk and are seperated by the Dniester River. We had to hitch a boat ride from Koropets to the other side of the river and then walk through the village Luha before making it Deleva.

Here is a boot scraper located outside the old wooden church (1795) in Koropets.



Badeni Palace (1893-1906) in disrepair

Relics in Ivano-Frankivsk

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Traces of Stanisławów's prewar and Polish past:




Manhole Covers in Ivano-Frankivsk

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Pre-Soviet manhole covers in Ivano-Frankivsk (Stanisławów)
From an interview with Tadeusz Olszański about Stanisławów: “The Soviet government did everything possible to erase all traces of Polish culture. Churches and synagogues were destroyed. Our cities fell to ruin…The Soviets, however, failed to obliterate many traces of Polish culture. I was moved to discover the inscription Jaworski & Sons on manhole covers and street lamps, on the iron benches in parks. And in many different places, which have been carefully restored by the city.”

"Fabryka Maszyn Br. Biskupscy sa w Kołomyi"  (Biskupski Brothers Machine Factory in Kołomyia)
One of the brothers was Lublin Biskupski (1840-1916), a soldier of the January Uprising and later owner of a machine factory in Kołomyja, industrialist, and merchant.


Hand-Painted Signs in Ivano-Frankivsk

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Modern hand-painted signs in Ivano-Frankivsk.




Ghost Signs in Ivano-Frankivsk

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Ivano-Frankivsk, formerly Stanisławów or Stanislaviv, is a small historic city about 2.5 hours south-east of Lviv, located at the foothills of the Carpathians. It was built in the mid-17th century as a private fortress. Along with Lviv, in 1772 it became part of the Austrian Empire, then part of the Second Polish Republic in the interwar period, and then it fell under the Soviet Union.
Some Polish-language signage and a few other relics from the pre- and interwar period can still be found in the city.
Café Edison was opened in 1904. From an article about Passage Gartenbergów and Café Edison: "The café underwent different fates, together with the city. Today it does not exist. A few years ago, when the facade of the building was being renovated, an old inscription was revealed, which was last displayed in the interwar period. The owners who own the space of the former cafe decided to keep it. Praise them for it!" Now it is a bank.

A former restaurant: