Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Regular hidden europe contributor Laurence Mitchell introduces us to the museum of Easter eggs at Kolomiya in eastern Ukraine.

article summary —

The modestly attractive Hutsul town of Kolomiya in western Ukraine is located a little too far away from the main Carpathian range to be a base for hiking into the mountains. Lying virtually halfway between Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi, the town is usually overlooked in favour of either or both of these splendid cities. However, for those curious souls who do not wish to dash directly from A to B a little time devoted to Kolomiya allows the visitor to see a remarkable museum that not only is dedicated uniquely to painted eggs but which also takes the form of one. For egg-fetishists, as for the merely curious, Kolomiya's Pysanka Museum really is all it is cracked up to be.

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Laurence Mitchell became a travel writer almost by default having squandered his youth travelling in North Africa and India. Following a stint teaching in Sudan, he went on to train as a geography teacher, which he pursued for a decade or so. These days he concentrates on writing and photography, and prefers to travel to those places that Colin Thubron describes as the 'nerve-ends of the world': transition zones and cultural frontiers like Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus region. He loves ancient tracks, moss-covered ruins, graveyards and allotment gardens, but detests shopping malls, homogenised suburbia and theme-park presentations of history. Despite a slight distrust of guidebooks, he has contributed a couple of his own to the world's literary stockpile - the Bradt Travel Guide to Serbia and Belgrade: the Bradt City Guide. His Bradt Guide to Kyrgyzstan was published in December 2007. Find out more about Laurence' work at www.laurencemitchell.com

This article was published in hidden europe 19.