Wells of Hutsul region

wells carpathiansSmall architectural forms namely wells, vegetables dryers, buildings for hay and corn keeping, cellars, gates etc. take an important place in architecture of today’s village in Hutsulshchyna. In conjunction with residential buildings and stables they make a kind of estate which is characteristic only for this corner of Ukraine. Hutsul wells are distinguished among these small objects.

Long ago Hutsuls used springs for their needs. Sometimes the wells were dug in the places of water spring and their walls were stoned.
The wells are dug at the bottoms of valleys, at foothills where there are no such springs. As known, locals stand out with their innate sense of beauty. Their life they decorate with wood carvings, ceramics, embroidery, carpets. The wells also are not remained unnoticed. Architectural forms are dictated by properties of construction materials, styles of the main buildings in the estate, folk traditions. Influence of the Hutsul old church architecture is most reflected in the wells.

By building the wells masters consider underground water level, convenience of their operation also taking into account the rules of sanitary hygiene. The underground walls of the wells are stoned with plates of clean stone or concrete rings are set in. In ancient times they were lined with fat wood. The overground walls up to 0.8-1.0 m high are made of fir blocks sawed into two pieces and connected at the corners in locks. In the section it looks like a square with sides of 1.5 m. Often the concrete rings or octagonal prisms with a cavity inside are put instead of a well parapet. A wooden drum is put on two poles at a height of 1.5-1.7 m. It is more convenient to use, than, for example, a well-known (from Japan to Portugal) sweep.

Above the drum a duo or tetra pitch, or sir – eight sided pyramid-shaped shed is raised, then it is shingled or covered with planks or tin. The sheds protect the well from rain and dust. Forms of the sheds are similar to common types of chapels extended in the past. In some villages of Kosiv and Verkhovyna districts the wells are shut close with boards from the roof to the overground construction. The wells are planked vertically with a distance in 4 cm between planks. There are the wells in which the wall boards are nailed at an angle or covered with “wooden nets”. On the outside these wells look nicer than those in which the walls are tightly planked

In many villages, namely Sheshory, Pistyn, Kosmach, Sokolivka, Horodok, Krivorivnia, Verkhovyna, the wells have covering with four pediments formed by the gable roofs, which converge in the center, also in this place a small tower can be put. A wind-vane or a carved image of a dove is attached to this tower. Deer, doves or flowers are carved on the plane of the pediments. These signs have symbolic significance. Dove, for example, is a symbol of love, faithfulness; deer is a symbol of nobility, kindness; flower is a life. People in ancient times believed that portraying these signs prevented evil. Now they are perceived as a decorative motif.

The pediment borders are completed with contour thread. In some villages they are painted. In Krivorivnya the pediments are painted in black and white like chess field. Their lower part is decorated with blue circles. The walls of the well are open. Origin of such a roof shape with four pediments, in our opinion, is to be found in the architecture of Hutsul five-domed church, which has the shape of a cross with proper covering in form of four sheds converging in the center. In the center stands a well developed dome. As the wells with other sheds, they have a water mirror completely open or closed all round by the boards, “wooden net” or “planks”. A small door is made on one of the sides in order to take water. Sometimes water is taken using a bucket and then poured into a trough attached at the door. From here water flows down along a spout into the bucket.

Water level in mountain areas is high therefore the wells are in almost all houses. The social wells are rarely to be found. The modern wells in Hutsul region attracting by their form and decoration are a work of popular, mass.

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