The Pysanka Museum, built in the year 2000, is one of the most famous museums in Ukraine and the only one of its kind in the world. Located in Kolomyia, a city in the western part of Ukraine about 45 miles from Chernivtsi, the museum has become the signature attraction of the city; it is of such an odd character that many travelers often visit specifically for the Pysanka Museum. The novelty of the building and collection is typically the draw, but examining the traditional folk art featured on these Ukraine Easter eggs is an excellent way to learn about the culture and history of Ukraine.
Pysanka is the Ukrainian word for Easter egg, and as the name implies, the institute is almost entirely devoted to exquisitely painted Easter eggs. Previously housed in an empty church building, the Easter egg museum now resides in an eye-catching building shaped like an Easter egg, designed in a collaboration of the museum director and local artists. The Pysanka Museum is not only the largest museum of its kind, but it features the world’s largest Easter egg as the entrance of the building.
The actual tradition of painting eggs dates back to the pre-Christian settlers who worshipped a sun god and occupied the land many years ago; this custom was then incorporated into the Christian traditions of Easter as the centuries passed. The decorations are specifically done with a batik method involving wax, and the term pysanka is a specific one that refers to eggs decorated with traditional folk designs from Ukraine, though the custom appears elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Maintaining a collection of more than 10,000 Ukraine Easter eggs, the majority of the assortment at the Pysanka Museum are truly pysanka, meaning they focus on the folk art of Ukraine. However, there are several exhibits of eggs from a variety of other countries, including the Slavic states and many other countries around the world, such as Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Belarus, India, France, Sweden, Canada, and even the United States. While a great deal of the Easter eggs are modern designs or replicas of the more traditional patterns, there are several members of the collection dating back to the 1800s and the early 1900s.
In addition to the permanent collection of the traditional folk art of the pysanka and Ukraine Easter eggs, there are temporary displays showcased at the museum in Kolomyia, consisting of the Hutsul traditions, even more Easter eggs, and other crafts of the traditional customs from the various parts of the country. Besides a simple viewing of the painted eggs from all over the world, visitors will have a chance to learn about the restoration and creation processes.
Visiting this portion of the country will allow travelers to find out about the culture and history of the land, in addition to seeing the beautiful scenery in western Ukraine. While the tradition of painted eggs, whether for Easter or for wedding customs or stone eggs simply for decoration, may seem somewhat frivolous at first glance, it reveals much about the rituals, heritage, and history of those particular traditions. Paying a visit to Kolomyia while touring Ukraine is a great way to experience the local culture as well as learn about those from around the world. It’s an easy day trip one of the many Chernivtsi hotels.