Past and present of Hutsulshchyna as the Carpathian borderland region. Remarks on changes of spatial structures, ethno-cultural specificity and heritage
The Hutsuls are a small-ethnic sub-group who live in the Eastern Carpathians. Because of their isolation in the mountains and resistance to change they were able to preserve their traditional way of life, based on cattle and sheep herding and craftsmanship, despite falling under the rule of many different governments. As a stateless territory, the Hutsul land is characterized by the successive foreign forces that spread their domination. Thus, Hutsulshchyna belonged to the Kiev Empire from the 9th to the 12th century. From the 14th until the end of the 18th century it was part of Poland until its partition in 1772, when the Hutsuls started to be ruled by the Austrian Empire. By the end of the First World War, Hutsulshchyna was part of the unsuccessful first attempt at creating an independent state. Between the two World Wars, Hutsulshchyna belonged to Poland until the Red Army forces occupied the area in 1945 and made it a part of the Soviet Union. Since its collapse in 1991, Hutsulshchyna is mainly located in periphery of the freshly independent Ukraine, but southern part of region belongs to Romania. It is recognized as the typical European borderland region. The Hutsul people are an impressive example for the close bond between people and nature. For centuries they have been living in the remote valleys of this mountainous area. It is believed that this group moved into the Carpathian highlands between the 14th and 18th centuries. Today, there are more than hundred Hutsul villages, but only some of them preserve their original ethnic character. The principal occupations of the population are the breeding of cattle and sheep, and work in the forests, cutting, hauling, and floating timber. Traditional Hutsul culture is represented by the colorful and intricate craftsmanship of their clothing, sculpture, architecture, wood-working, metalworking, rug weaving and pottery. Along with other Hutsul traditions, as well as their songs and dances, this culture is often celebrated and highlighted by the different countries that Hutsuls inhabit. Hutsuls are characterized by small population size, geographical isolation and traditional social relations. Their history, origins, and identification are still subject to controversy. Peasant peoples, without any codified language, political power or local intelligentsia are able to express self-identity, but the process of constructing their national consciousness and their situation between various cultures are very difficult to understand. Their way of life, strong social connections and heritage are very unique, but for how long will the Hutsul traditions, customs and habits continue to live? The outside civilization has begun making inroads into the traditional Hutsul lifestyle and settlement, which can weakly be resisted in the twenty-first century.
- Książki/Rozdziały 
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