Oleska Dovbush Museum

The Carpathians

Few would brave the potholes to the sprawling Carpathian village of Kosmach, 35km to the southwest of Kolomyya, were it not for the privately run Oleksa Dovbush Museum. Run by the inimitable Mykhailo Didyshyn, this must be one of the oddest sights you'll find among the peaks of Europe's east. Didyshyn claims the garden hut housing his small museum is the one in which the 'the Ukrainian Robin Hood' was killed and he even shows you Dovbush's very own hat, belt, axe and bag.

The rest of the one-room museum is mostly taken up with the strange figures Didyshyn has carved from tree roots, as well as assorted Carpathian junk with a tall story behind every piece. Outside stands Didyshyn's 1988 Dovbush monument, but the museum's most fascinating exhibit is the grandly mustachioed owner himself, an artist and photographer persecuted by the KGB for his Dovbush obsession. Take an interpreter along to hear some of the most colourful tales between Prague and Kyiv. Allow several hours for a visit if Didyshyn is in the mood to talk!

Third-world roads are keeping some tour guides away from Kosmach these days, which is a shame. Combined with Sheshory, it makes an interesting day out from Kolomyya, the best place to pick up a guide/interpreter, but be prepared for a rough ride. Public buses do head this way from Kolomyya but a little local help will save you lots of hassle.

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