Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wooden Churches of the Carpathian Mountains #2 - Kryvka, Ukraine (now in Lviv skansen)

This wonderful wooden church, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, is originally from the small village of Kryvka, found near the border with Poland. In 1930 it was moved to the Lviv Museum of Folk Architecture to become the first structure in the museum's collection.
Today it is the museum's star attraction, preserved as a superb example of the Boyko style of Rusyn wooden church design. Boyko churches are identifiable by a building plan with three steeples where the tallest steeple is the central one; the interior contains three rooms, with the middle one being the largest.
The Kryvka church was originally constructed in 1763, and suffered major damage in World War I when a shell crashed through the roof. I spoke with the priest responsible for the church and he told me that a lack of funding for restoration of western Ukraine's wooden churches threatens the long-term sustainability of many of these unique and remarkable structures. The Lviv skansen is found at the edge of the city, and is easily reached by tram from the centre.


  1. Beautiful building. The skansen will be top of my list if I ever (and I hope to) make it to Lviv.

    The boxes or little towers on top of the gate posts, are they birdhouses or feeders of some kind?

  2. Hi Captain,
    Lviv is one of my favourite places, it has all the charm and character of a city like Krakow without the tourist crowds.
    I wondered about the boxes on the gateposts too, but after looking at them closely I decided they must be purely for decoration, as they help the gate more closely match the style of the church. The only other possible purpose I can think of is that they could be used as flower boxes.

  3. My reaction to these photos was. "Wow... wow, wow, wow!

  4. That was my reaction on seeing this church as well John, it is probably the most sophisticated example of wooden religious architecture in all of the Carpathian mountains region. There is another church which is quite similar to this one in a village near Kryvka in Ukraine very close to the border with Poland, although its roof has now been covered in tin since it was too costly for the locals to maintain the wood. There are many other excellent examples of churches influenced by Baroque style in the Lviv region of Ukraine and to the south of there, the churches in Drohobych are also really worth seeing.