The traditional village house


The traditional village house is an especially important item of material culture when it comes to areas such as Ukraine.

A house is constructed human space. It is a microcosm of the Ukrainian view of the universe. Many important cultural ideas are contained within the house and can thus be illustrated by it. For example, in Ukrainian culture, differences such as those between inside and outside, our own and other, are very important. The house illustrates this in many ways. The door of the house does not face the street. Rather, one must come into the yard before one can go into the house; the house can only be entered from within the protective enclosure of the farm compound.

Rushnyky, or ritual towels, embroidered pieces of cloth that are considered to have potency, protect all openings, be they concrete openings such as windows, or metaphoric openings such as icons and pictures, which are “windows” unto the other world. Icons are situated opposite the door, so that anyone entering a home, or even a room, must look upon them. This is believed to protect the residents of the home from evil. And inside/outside is but one of the many important culture ideas encapsulated in the traditional house.


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