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Ukrainian folklore and tourism society "Play"

Except polish tourist and folklore associations during period between two world wars, there functioned many societies and associations formed by national minorities. One of the most attended association that functioned in our territory was Ukrainian folklore and tourism society "Play".

The society started its activity in 1924. The statute purposes of activity were: stimulating folklore learning, collection and research of archeological, physiographic, ethnographic and anthropological data, conferences and meetings holding, archeological and natural monuments protection and conservation, tourism promoting and arrangement, tourist refuges building, routes arrangement, mass recreating actions holding, scientific works and guide-books publishing.

At first the society activity area was restricted within Lviv city territory, where the supervisory board was situated. Later there were branches founded such as in Peremyshl', Stryj, Sambir, Lviv and Ternopil. At the end of the 30s the number of "Play" members was possibly equal to 300-500 persons. This was not enough for active representative activity that limited financial capabilities of the society.

The "Play" consisted of five departments - folklore, ecology, educational, recreational and sport. The branches ran only selective activity.

The most weighty examples of activity of the association

In sphere of organising and promoting folklore learning:
expositions and reading holding
arrangement of series of excursions in Lviv and suburbs (e.g. on Spring Day to Briukhovychi village, to Krylos village near Halych etc)

In sphere of building it was a very significant achievement of the Association of having built and maintaining of tourist refuge at Plistse pasture between Grofa and Popadia mts. in Gorgany. That was the first ukrainian mountain refuge for tourists.

The land plot (near 1 morg), the refuge was situated at, was rented by the Board of Greek-Catholic Metropolis to the "Play" association in Lviv. The same way and at more advantageous conditions the materials were received. Together with land plot the association was granted permission for using hunting huts and holding tourist activity in the area.

An engineer A. Pezhansky, a "Play" member, was involved as the project designer. The refuge was constructed in 1933-35 by means of community under observation of Dr. M. Sayevych. Having been built in "Boyky" style, it had three rooms and habitable loft. Due to severe weather conditions yet in 1938 the refuge needed repair.

There are no reports what happend to the refuge, but it is most probably that it was destroyed during war action with UPA soldiers and located a hundred metres away of hunting shelter that had been before the actual building was installed.

Sport activity of the Association didn't go beyond participation in althletics and ski competition.

A relevant part of the Association activity was taken by the nature protection issue. It took part in planning of ukrainian natural parks, and it also initiated action for natural monuments register implementing.

In sphere of educational and publishing activity the Association assisted in publishing pioneer guide-books for hiking - a tourist guide by J.Y. Pelensky "Opir and Stryj rivers valley" and a book by Y. Tarnovych "Passing tops of Lemkivsky Beskyd"

Since Jan 1937 till Aug 1939 the Association has been publishing the tourist and folklore monthly almanac "our homeland". Within serie "Folklore learning Library" there were as well published as follows: A. Richynskyj "Old town Volyn'", M. Korduba "What building place-names say" and G. Zbinden "Travelling Hutsul mountains". In the same category there were written books of I. Krypjakevych "From Hutsulshchyna history" (1929), F. Kokovsky "Passing eastern borders of Lemkivshychyna" (1937) and J.Y. Pelensky "Materials for folklore learning bibliography of Halychyna, Volyn' and Transcarpathia" (1936).

As it appears the "Play" maintained partner contacts with polish folklore learning association, although they sometimes lacked for understanding. Thus the "Play" planned to establish own tourist routes around Osmoloda village, however the routes arrangement was under monopoly of Polish Tatra Association.


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