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Russian Stove and Its Origin

Russian Stove

There was no such izba in Russia, which did not have a Russian stove. Russian stove is a unique object in the East Slavic culture and the most vivid symbol of Russian spirit. It was an irreplaceable helper in everyday life; people used it to keep their houses warm, to cook food, to wash linen, as well as to keep the sleeping place warm. In this article, we are going to look at the origin of the Russian stove and its features.

Origin of Russian stove

First constructions for heating houses, which became prototypes of modern Russian stoves, appeared about four thousand years ago. People realized that the fire they were keeping could be hidden under the roof. Until the 8th century, stoves didn’t have chimneys, so all the smoke came out through the door, therefore the ceiling and walls of the house were covered with layers of soot. Later people started making holes in the rooves and putting wooden chimneys. Then in the 18th century people began to use refractory bricks, and the Russian stove had a brick chimney which was seen over the izba. So, we can say that first classical Russian stove appeared in the 18th century.

Russian Stove

Image of Russian stove

The description of traditional Russian stove can be found in many textbooks and historical articles. Russian stove also had a special place in Russian traditional fairy tales where it was mentioned quite often and symbolized comfort and prosperity. Russian stove was often decorated with various paintings. This was done not only for aesthetic reasons, but also to protect the home from evil spirits.

Purpose of Russian stove

The main tasks of Russian stove were heating the place and cooking food.  It was installed in the center of the izba in order to evenly heat all rooms, and so that the heat was not drawn through the windows and doors.

Russian Stove

Big Russian stoves were used as a banya. After it got hot, the place where the firewood was placed was thoroughly cleaned and covered with straw. Then, cast iron containers with water were put there, and it was possible to take a bath. Adults did it on their own, but children were put inside the stove on a special spade.

And of course, people used to relax and sleep on the stove. The place to sleep was called “polot”, in other words, these were shelves on which people slept. They were installed between the wall and stove. Places to sleep were built in two levels. Adults usually slept on the first level, children on the second one. There was enough place for up to six people.

Russian Stove

Conclusion

Russian stove can definitely be called the basis of traditional peasant life. Today there appear more and more peope who like this unique construction and install it in their houses.

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