The picture here to the left, taken at the Shevchenko outdoor museum near Lviv, shows a traditional stove. Although more decoratively painted than usual, this stove displays all of the common characteristics of both Carpatho-Rusyn and Ukrainian stoves.

The Carpatho-Rusyn stove was called a "peetch." It consisted of an oven attached to a large platform and a chimney. The flue from the oven wound around inside the platform before raising up the chimney. Because of its long winding path through the stove, the smoke had a chance to cool and transfer its heat to the heavy massive body of the stove which more slowly gave off the heat to the surrounding room. The peetch was used for heating, cooking and served a number of other functions.

The peetch was built before the rest of the house. Most often it was constructed from clay from near-by river banks. During more modern times, it was built of clay bricks. During more historical periods it was built by placing split logs upon a platform of clay and stone and then raising the level of the platform with more clay. The clay was then hardened by building a fire around it, which burned out the log or logs inside forming a flue. After constructing the peetch the remainder of the house was then constructed around it.

In addition to an open oven where wood was burned and food cooked, the peetch often contained an opening or indentation where sour dough or a pitcher of water could be kept warm, or at least kept from freezing. Sometimes, there were recesses along the bottom of the platform where chickens could live during the winter and be warm enough to supply eggs. The peetch sometimes occupied as much a quarter of the living surface of the home. The square surface of the peetch platform was very suitable for sleeping during the winter. Although the peetch was seldom, if ever large enough for an entire family, several children or sick people could sleep on the platform surface, wrapped in bags of feathers called "perinnas." Perinnas served both as mattress and blanket. During the fall the platform area of the peetch was also used to dry foods for winter storage. If a house burned down, it was usually only the peetch that remained.



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