In the middle of XVII century a French engineer and cartographer Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan said: “Ukraina est Terra Cosacorum” – “Ukraine is a Land of Cossacks”. That’s why in seven kilometers from Khreschatyk an openair museum – a Cossack village “Mamajeva Sloboda” – has been located. Its thematic exhibits are situated on the 9,2 hectares site and represent a full replica of a historical settlement depicting Ukrainian nature, architecture and the way of life.
What is special about the open-air museum
Over three hundred years ago this land was in the possession of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. In the oak-grove above the Lybid River head approximately in the same place of the present “Mamajeva Sloboda” the monastery apiary with a farmstead and a pond were situated.
Few centuries have passed and again we can see the picturesque holts twining there about meadows as scrub hedgerows and creating a landscape of a typical for the Central Ukraine unique view of valley. Nowadays the Cossack village called “Mamajeva Sloboda” stands on that particular place – among the curly cherry orchards surrounded by wattle fences.
In the center of the architectural ensemble which consists of 98 units a Cossack three-domed wooden church is located. The Cossack church is founded in the name of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin and is similar to the one built at Zaporozhian Sich in the days of Bohdan-Zinoviy Khmelnytskyi.
Near the main entrance gate a mound is raised with a Scythian statue of Mamaj on the top. Not far from the church there is a wind-mill – the symbol of peaceful agricultural Ukraine. In “Mamajeva Sloboda” one can see the estates of a Churchwarden, of a Cossack-dzhura (Cossack armour bearer), of a Sotnik (the Cossack’s superior), of a Blacksmith with a smithy, of a Potter with a pottery, of a Fortune-teller; a shynok (Ukrainian restaurant), an apiary and a watermill as well – all of them are situated over two rushy lakes cov-ered with water lilies. The estates consist of different buildings according to their household functions. They are: storehouses, sheds, stables, cellars, barns, cart-houses, etc. This traditional Ukrainian landscape is supplemented with the Mar-ketplace, the Military chancellery and a Cossack garrison.
The objects of “Mamajeva Sloboda” are used by the method of reproduction of the living history according to their original functions – with the aim to popularize and revive the original Ukrainian folk traditions, customs, rites, forgotten labor skills and handicrafts.
A little of official information
The ethnology centre “Cossack Mamaj” was registered as a legal personality on the 9th of July, 1990. Kyiv City Council transferred the plot of land to the museum for the permanent land use with the first in the Ukrainian history judicial decision.
From the time of this decision up to the inauguration of “Mamajeva Sloboda” 19 years had passed. The first visitors were officially invited on the 9th of July 2009 (the photo report is possible to see in the gallery (ukr. version)).