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Hutsuls in Poland in the 1930s
Caption: Hutsule on the trip , lithograph from 1872
Hutsul wedding dress, Kosiv market , Ivano-Frankivsk oblast , 2005
Hutsule playing music with a Trembita (xylography by Zygmunt Ajdukiewicz, 1899)

The Hutsuls , sometimes also called Hutsul or Hutzul , are a mountain people in the Carpathian Mountains . Many Hutsuls see themselves as Ukrainians today . Since the Ukrainian independence, numerous monuments to the poet Taras Shevchenko have been erected in the Hutsul settlement area . The identity offered by the Russian movement is only used by a few intellectuals of Hutsul origin; Russian activists consider the Hutsuls to be “apostates”.


The origin of the common name Hutsul is unknown. In other languages ​​they are referred to as follows: Ukrainian гуцули / huzuly ; polish and slovak huculi ; Hungarian huculok ; Romanian huţuli ; Russian гуцу́лы / guzuly .


In addition to their own Russian dialect, which is mixed with Romanian words, many Hutsuls also speak Romanian and Ukrainian .

Settlement area

They live in the vicinity of Bojken and Lemken in the Carpathian Mountains in the border area between Ukraine , Poland and Romania . The wooded valleys of the Prut and the Czeremosz are their home. The unofficial capital of the Hutsul Land ( hutsulshchyna ) is Kosiv .


Among other things, the great advance of the Mongols under Genghis Khan to Europe in the Hungarian lowlands moved through their settlement area . The horses of the Hutsuls are obviously descendants of abandoned animals of the Mongol army, which withdrew after the battle of Muhi in 1241.

From the 14th to the 18th century, the Hutsuls settled in the northern Carpathians. In the 17th and 18th centuries they also began to colonize the southern Carpathians, the Ukrainian Transcarpathian and the Romanian region of Maramures .

During the First World War , the Austro-Hungarian armed forces set up a volunteer battalion made up of non-conscript Hutsuls, which was deployed on the Carpathian Front in the winter of 1914/15 . After the breakup of Austria-Hungary , the Hutsuls proclaimed an independent Hutsul republic in the areas they inhabited in January 1919 . With the support of the West Ukrainian People's Republic had a half year existence, then it was conquered by Romanian troops, then the area belonged 1919-1938 to Romania or to Czechoslovakia , then to 1944 partly to Hungary , since the end of World War II to Ukrainian SSR and after the collapse of the Soviet Union to an independent Ukraine.

During a brief heyday between World War I and World War II, the city of Rakhiv was sometimes referred to as Hutsul Paris .


Until the end of the 19th century, the Hutsuls in the impassable high mountains of the Carpathian Mountains were cut off from all developments of contemporary history and lived according to their own laws and customs. Even after more than 100 years of modern civilization, there are still Hutsuls who live according to old custom somewhere for themselves in harmony with and from nature. During the summer months, parts of the population go to the high plateaus of the Carpathians on pastures.

The Hutsuls are predominantly followers of the Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church . In addition, traditional magical-religious ideas are widespread, including the molfar , a magical healer and specialist in medicinal plants.

Originally the Hutsuls were engaged in sheep breeding and forestry . In the valley of the Tisza , west of Chust , viticulture ( see: Viticulture in Romania ) is widespread. As a sideline, willow branches are also collected there and prepared for export to Romania. The Hutsuls are known for their handicraft skills such as wood carving, copperwork, weaving, pottery and especially decorating Easter eggs . Nowadays there is also the Hutsul bazaar in Kosiv every Saturday . Everything from cows to clothing to refrigerators is available at this market. Colorfully embroidered leather clothes and thick fur jackets as well as carved utensils with typical Hucul motifs can be wonderfully marketed.

The National Museum of Folk Art of Hutsul and Pokutia in Kolomyja shows the culture and tradition of the Hutsuls. The collection was compiled in 1910 by curator Henryk Gąsiorowski. You can see Hutsul fabrics, traditional costumes, household items, musical instruments and the furnishings of a Hutsul house.

The Hutsuls practice the fast Kolomyjka circle dance, which is named after the city of Kolomyja . Her traditional musical instruments include the long wooden trembita, the dulcimer cymbaly , several flutes called sopilka and the jaw harp Drymba .

The Hutsuls became internationally known in 2004 through the victory of the singer Ruslana, who uses Hutsul cultural elements, at the Eurovision Song Contest and in 2010 through the film documentary On the Trail of the Nomads by Australian Tim Cope .


Fire Horses is a Soviet film that deals with the Hutsuls. It was also shown in Germany and after 1965 brought more general interest to the Hutsuls.


  • Klaus Beitl u. a. (Ed.): Galizien. Ethnographic exploration among the boyks and hutsuls in the Carpathian Mountains. Book accompanying the annual exhibition '98 in the Ethnographic Museum Schloss Kittsee from June 6 to November 2, 1998 (= Kittseer Schriften zur Volkskunde , vol. 9). Ethnographic Museum Schloss Kittsee, Kittsee 1998, ISBN 3-900359-78-4 .
  • Raimund Friedrich Kaindl : The Hutsuls. Their life, their custom and their folk tradition . Hölder, Vienna 1894 (first comprehensive ethnological study).
  • Raimund Friedrich Kaindl: House and yard with the Hutsuls. A contribution to house research in Austria . Anthropological Society, Vienna 1896.
  • Renata Makarska: The room and its texts. Conceptualizations of the Hucul'ščyna in Central European literature of the 20th century. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-631-59302-8 .
  • Martin Pollack : To Galicia. From Hasids, Hutsuls, Poles and Ruthenians. An imaginary journey through the vanished world of Eastern Galicia and Bukovina . C. Brandstätter, Vienna 1984, ISBN 3-85447-075-4 .
  • Ivan Senkiv: The pastoral culture of the Hutsuls. A folklore study. JG Herder Institute, Marburg / Lahn 1981 (= Marburger Ostforschungen, 39). ISBN 3-87969-167-3
  • Claus Stephani: Gdy wzywa toaka (Where the Toaka sounds. About the Hutsuls in southern Bukovina). In: Płaj. Almanach Karpacki , Vol. 32 (2006), pp. 82–86 (Polish)
  • Józef Wittlin : The salt of the earth . Novel. Amsterdam 1937; Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-518-39669-2 (The main character comes from a Huzul village.)
  • Yuri Andruchowytsch : Twelve Rings . Novel. Boalsburg - Feldafing - Stanislawo-Frankiwsk 2003; Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-518-45840-2 (The customs of the Hutsuls is one of the themes of the novel.)

Web links

Commons : Hutsul  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d On the Trail of Ghengis Khan / The Expedition / Ukraine (May 2006 - August 2007)
  2. ^ History of the Ukraine , Kerstin S. Jobst . Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-019320-4 , pp. 267-270
  3. Eduard Fischer: War without an army: My defense of Bukovina against the Russians . Military Science Verlag, Vienna 1935 pp. 147–169
  4. ^ Museum of Folk Art of Hutsulei and Pokutia.
  5. Aleksander Strojny, Krzystof Bzowski, Artur Grossmann: Ukraine - the West. Reise Know-How Verlag Peter Rump 2008, p. 352
  6. ^ History of the Ukraine , Kerstin S. Jobst . Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-019320-4 , p. 25