Leaving big and noisy cities, one finds a soul — permeating calm in Boiarka. A township, which is surrounded by forests, has a unique history, its own character and destiny. Let us get to know Boiarka. It is relatively young. However, Budaivka, its birthplace, is one of the most ancient settlements in Ukraine. There is a mould with an ancient wooden church and an old cemetery that used to be a little Slavic township in the Kyiv Rus’. The location, dimensions and shape of the mould as well as the fact that a circular ditch washed it, prove that it is an artificial site, and give the grounds to consider it to be a fortification against enemies. The township in Budaivka is a historical listed site. In winter, when the nearby pond gets frozen, children delight in races between skaters and bicycle – drivers to find out the really fast ones. Some lose their shoes while competing, but win nevertheless.
There are several explanations to the etymology of «Budaivka». Competent scientists oppose a beautiful popular legend of a Cossack called Budayi, who allegedly founded this township. The other explanation is that the town name comes from the word «buda». Buda is the craft of extracting tar and charcoal out of wood pulp, which was widely practiced in Ukraine in the sixteenth — nineteenth centuries.
The village of Budaivka was first mentioned in historical documents in the early sixteenth century. At that time it was ruled by Lithuania and was conquered by Poland later on.
In the early seventeenth century it was the property of magnate Korets’kyi.
In 1648 Budaivka was liberated from the Polish rule and became part of Bilohorodka «sotnia» (company) of the Kyiv regiment in 1649.
When a railway from Kyiv to Fastiv was built near Budaivka in the 60’s of the last century, a railway station called Boiarka was established here (22 km from Kyiv). It was called after the neighboring village, which was renamed Tarasivka in 1926. The etymology of «Boiarka» is tied up with the word «buerak» (a ravine). The map of Kyiv, made by I. Ushakov in 1695, shows names of «Boia-rak» and «Boiaraki» on the outskirts of the city. The village of Tarasivka is situated in the ravines, in a washed out valley, and the neighboring village of Yurivka lies on moulds — «na yuru» in Slavonic. Thus, the names are logical, since «na yuru» gives «Yurivka» and «na buerakah» gives «Boiarka».
This cosy and lush land captivated the people of Kyiv at once. Clean and fresh forest air, an enchanting cascade of lakes, abundance of wild berries, wet aroma of mushrooms and pine-needles, gentle whisper of herbs, graceful roes and playful squirrels are just a small part of what the nature in Boiarka offers to the local inhabitants and their guests.
Country houses were built in big numbers, and more and more people came to stay here. Exquisite fairytale houses sprang among mighty oaks and pines on Khreschatyk Street (present-day K. Marx Street), and they still impress us with their lace of wooden pediments and window cases.
In 1885 Mykola Lysenko stayed in one of these houses. The founder of Ukrainian classical music left us a tremendous artistic heritage. It was in Boiarka that he composed a piece of Taras Bulba opera.
Sholom Rabinovych (pen-name — Sholom-Aleichem) was a regular guest in Boiarka. He introduced this land under the name of «Boiberik» into his masterpiece entitled «Tevie the Milkman».
«Flowers shed their petals, the lights are gone…», all of Kyiv was crazy with those words. They belong to the famous Russian poet S. Nadson. Twenty-three year old young man stayed in Boiarka in 1886. There is a place in the forest called Nadson Valley, where as people say the poet used to stroll.
Many places in Boiarka are tied up with the name of Mykola Ostrovs’kyi.
Under the Soviet Union the museum in Boiarka was fully dedicated to one person — Mykola Ostrovs’kyi. In 1921 this Komsomol leader took part in the construction of a narrow-gauge railway, which was used to transport wood from the forests in the vicinity of Boiarka to Kyiv.
The winter that year happened to be rather severe, the capital was dying with frost, and it was imperative to save the people as soon as possible.
Bolshevist authorities who did not prevent the crisis happening, called upon members of the Komsomol to immediately set up teams and provide them with an opportunity to perform an «exploit» — brave the frost and starvation, work barefoot and with no necessary equipment to construct the railway.
The narrow-gauge line was built, the people of Kyiv were saved, and the freezing cold winter was finally over… The iron rails went grassy… Mykola Ostrovs’kyi was paralyzed due to the spine problems that he had developed while involved in the construction. Braving the death, he composed two novels in ten years — the much autobiographical How the Steel was Tempered (The Making of a Hero) and the Born by the Tempest. They won him recognition as a writer. Os-trovs’kyi passed away on 22 December 1936 in Moscow. Now, if you go along the railway towards a forest research station, it is possible to see a symbolic narrow-gauge line built at the place of the real events.
Established for the benefit of the Komsomol leader Mykola Ostrovs’kyi, j the Boiarka museum has now turned into a museum of regional studies with an interesting exposition. Certainly, the guides still tell you about the «Lenin , , ?
guard» and «tempering of the steel», but the stories are presented in a different, less enthusiastic way as opposed to that of 10—15 years ago. For instance, more attention is paid to the tragic life of Ostrovs’kyi the writer, to his craving to live on for the benefit of humanity.
Bolshevist myth — making has had an unusual outcome, when Chinese filmmakers tried to recreate the events of the Civil war, using the plot of the How the Steel is Tempered. To this end Chinese directors set up a team in Boiarka and in six months shot a 20-part movie featuring locals as well. Excerpts from the movie and a documentary about the shootage are shown at the museum during tours.
The exhibits are on display at the building near the old school to which the children still come to study.
There is a Boiarka museum branch that was inaugurated on 25 September 1997 in the village of Maliutianka, three kilometers south of Boiarka. There is an estate of a famous Ukrainian painter Mykola Pymonenko. The name «Maliutianka», in which the artist lived for 23 years, is quite symbolic as it has the same root as the words «maliuvaty» (to paint), «mal’ovnycha» (picturesque) and «maliar» (a painter). Picturesque scenery and a decorated road sign — all of this is Maliutianka. In spring vigorous blooming of orchards smothers the village, in autumn it stands in golden and purple splendor, in winter it is covered with a snow blanket. This village is beautiful in all seasons. And it was no pure chance that the famous Ukrainian painter fell in love with it and lived here from 1888 till 1911, creating his wonderful paintings.
Pymonenko worked hard when he lived in Maliutianka. He would find the scenery, necessary to reveal the personality of characters, among moulds, fields, and woods, by a river or a pond. And the most usual characters on his paintings were villagers, including the inhabitants of Maliutianka. The museum holds art exhibitions, thematic lectures, and meetings with famous painters, writers, archeologists, and historians. The humble building by the forest edge enjoys steady visits of small and adult inhabitants of Maliutianka, guests of the village, and tourists.
A visitor to the Pymonenko museum will enjoy not only the paintings on display but also the surrounding scenery.