We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Putivl (near Sumy)

Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
4 posts
8 reviews
Save Topic
Putivl (near Sumy)

This summer, family and I will go looking for family roots/possible relatives in Putivl, where my grandfather was born. I believe there is a single hotel (named Monastery?) there, but would appreciate any insights/tips from anyone who may have been in this town near Sumy!

Zdybanka Hotel
Zdybanka Hotel
#1 of 10 B&Bs / Inns in Sumy
Premier Hotel Shafran
Premier Hotel Shafran
#2 of 10 B&Bs / Inns in Sumy
Reikartz
Reikartz
#1 of 2 hotels in Sumy
20 replies to this topic
Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Ukraine, Lutsk, Chernivtsi
Level Contributor
22,211 posts
343 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Hi Uncle_Lars :) Welcome to Ukraine forum!

I’ve been to Putivl some time ago, and loved this green town with beautiful scenery very much!

There are several fascinating monasteries of the defense type. And even its regular urban architectural face is very nice. Many houses in downtown were painted in bright colours, all different. And I remember to have been impressed by their water tower (I “collect” water towers’ pictures :). It was wonderful to walk around the town and by the Seim River, and in its many parks with fabulous observation sites.

Can’t tell you anything about the hotel, I didn’t stay in it. A quick search, indeed, didn’t find any other options to stay. I found couple of reviews of Monastyrskaya hotel on local web-sites, and they are quite positive http://tinyurl.com/5vdd5p4

I seem to remember that surprisingly we did not have any problem to find a place to eat there (this is normally a huge problem when traveling around small cities in Ukraine), and it was very cheap.

Unfortunately, once you go off E101/M02 road, which was made very decent during Baturin reconstruction, the road to Putivl itself is dreadful. I doubt they made any works there since my last visit.

I’d also assume you might find it hard to find English speakers in Putivl. So if no one in your family speaks Ukrainian or Russian, you might want to consider hiring an interpreter to facilitate your search, not only in terms of the language barrier, but also in dealing with Ukrainian bureaucracy.

Let know if I can be of any other help :) Have a nice trip!

Edited: 14 January 2011, 07:45
Mentioned in this post
Ukraine
Ukraine
Europe
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
3 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Hello, i am going to go to Sumy and Hutin (I can't even find it on the google earth function) with my half sister in October. We plan to go wîth a guide as neither of us speak Ukrainian or Russian. We are recently reunited as i am adopted and found myself to be half-Ukrainian on my birth father's side, so it's quite a suprise to suddenly learn that my grandmother (still alive at 90) and grandfather (deceased) are from the towns of Sumy and Hutin respectively. Any recommendations would be appreciated concerning this planned return to find our roots. Thank you in the meantime for your very informative message regarding Putivl. Best regards.

Edited: 13 September 2011, 10:35
Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Ukraine, Lutsk, Chernivtsi
Level Contributor
22,211 posts
343 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Hi Charlie! Welcome to Ukraine forum :)

I don’t have a detailed map in front of me now, so just a guess – any chances we are talking about the town of Khotin’ (ukr. Хотiнь) on Oleshnya River, in a very short drive (about 20km) from Sumy? http://tinyurl.com/632346j

If so, then I have only been there on transit on my way to Russia and unfortunately don’t remember anything about the place.

I doubt there are any hotels in there, so if you haven’t yet met your relatives and are not sure about where to search for your grandfather's roots, you might want to be based in Sumy for this trip.

Not sure what kind of recommendations you are asking about; could you please be a bit more specific?

Edited: 13 September 2011, 13:55
Mentioned in this post
Ukraine
Ukraine
Europe
Russia
Russia
Europe
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
3 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Hi, i think you are right about the town name. I looked around as well and found that to be the one that most looks like the name of the town my grandmother told me.

I don't think i need any help for the time being and really appreciate your quick reply. I'm a bit nervous about going to the Ukraine for the first time because i don't know what to expect and (particularly outside of major cities) would like to find a way to prepare myself in terms of cultural behaviour and way in which to be polite (esp. when not speaking the language and catching up with distant relatives!).

From this perspective, is there anything that you can recommend (perhaps books or link to a web site with simple etiquette)? I'm guessing that it's polite to take a gift for example. If we are invited into someone's home do we take our shoes off, when you 'cheers' with someone over a drink do you look them in the eye, should i learn to sing something or perhaps some very important words that i absolutely must have knowledge of?

sorry to bother you, of course i'll be doing some research, but in any case appreciate any advice you might have.

Best regards,

Mentioned in this post
Ukraine
Ukraine
Europe
5. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff has removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum guidelines with regards to off-topic chat. Please limit conversations to subject matter directly related to the host forum. For example: when in the London forum, please stick to topics that relate to travel within the London Metropolitan Area.

Off-Topic Chatter is a forum for discussions gone afield from the topic of travel. Please note that the Off-Topic Chatter forum is un-moderated -- the Forum Posting Guidelines are not enforced, with the exception of pornographic images or text, hate speech, unauthorized re-prints of copyrighted text, and messages that promote or encourage illegal activities. Each user is expected to take responsibility for his or her own conduct.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 13 September 2011, 20:31
 
Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Ukraine, Lutsk, Chernivtsi
Level Contributor
22,211 posts
343 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

You are not a bit bothering, Charlie! It is my pleasure if I can be of any help :)

Let’s start from what to expect.

As I said above, don’t expect people to speak much English. And considering that they normally don’t see much foreigners there, they might be curious about you. But Ukrainians in general are friendly, so this curiosity won’t be hostile.

Sadly, roads (my pet peeve) in Sumy oblast, especially on your way from Kyiv, are just dreadful.

Bring some cash to exchange or withdraw hryvnia in ATMs. You will hardly find too many places in Sumy and its area where credit cards are accepted (except in Sumy hotel, if of a certain level). Browse through this forum on more tips, say here tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g295377-i5799-k480…

Small non-touristy towns let alone villages don’t have too many places to eat out, and those available can be too basic. So if you plan travelling outside Sumy, you might want to pack something to eat with you. Can’t remember what the case with Khotin’ is. Certainly this is not the case with Sumy.

It is hard for me to predict how catching up with the relatives will go. Don’t be discouraged if they appear somewhat reserved to you. It takes time to getting used to the idea of having new relatives :)

.

As for the etiquette (LOVE talking about it :), if you are pretty sure you want a book, take a look at this one www.kuperard.co.uk/cgi-bin/articles.pl… I haven’t read this particular one about Ukraine, but for the other countries they are of mixed quality, depending on the author.

But you are welcome to ask everything you want to know here on the forum :)

Yes, it is polite to bring something when you are visiting a house, especially if you are treated to a dinner there, let alone left to stay. Traditionally, for a short visit, a bottle of spirits or some sweets (you can never go wrong with Swiss chocolate ;) are fine as well as flowers for the hostess and, if there are kids in the house, something for the kids. If you are staying with the family, something more substantial can be appropriate.

When entering a house/apartment, Ukrainians normally do take their shoes off (inside the house/apartment) and change them for home shoes or slippers. It is polite on the guest’s part to start taking the shoes off. Normally a hostess either will start protesting and insisting that you keep them on, or will offer you some home shoes. If she does none of this, you will have to stay in your socks. If you are not visiting alone, don’t be in a rush and just pay attention to what the others are doing and follow the suit.

Get ready that you might be offered to eat (and drink) very often and a lot :) This is our idée fixe and one of the main principles of hospitality. Instead of «how are you» we seem to ask «are you hungry?» :) It’s somewhat impolite to refuse, even if you are not.

Traditions of drinking change these days. While in my circles it is still a norm to make table speeches (toasts), you may as well find that in some areas/families people just drink while dining with no speeches, or a simple «Bud’mo» (Cheers!). There’s no strict requirement to look into the eyes while clinking; people probably rather look at their glasses (in order not to miss), though yes, eye-contact in this case is appropriate.

Hardly there’s a need for you to learn to sing anything. For the table, most required will probably be «Bud’mo» and «Chut’-chut’» (if you challenge yourself to pronouncing it ;), meaning «a little bit», normally pronounced by foreigners when they are offered a generous drink :)

I think LeeAnne can contribute a lot here; I’ll drop her a line.

Though I doubt you will face a need to toast during your trip, considering language barrier, you might be interested to learn about it :)

Toasts, no matter if short or long, are expected to be individual and reflecting an occasion. The one who makes a toast shares some thoughts then concludes with a suggestion on what everyone drinks for, or makes some wishes based on what was said.

There is a strict order of several toasts: 1 - goes for the «guilty» of the bash or the reason for gathering; 2 - for parents and/or ancestors; if parents are gone, the toast relates to all parents and relatives who are gone (in this case people don’t clink glasses); 3 - for the ladies; often relates to toasting for love; 4...n-1 - subsequent toasts normally turn around the occasion and those present;n - final toast is normally made by the host thanking everyone who came.

The rules stipulate that the one who makes a toast drinks first and up to the bottom.

As for the useful words, some basics that you can master (hello, thank you etc) will most probably cause smiles (and may not always be understood), but certainly appreciated. Take a look at the threads and articles with some useful words linked to in my #1 here tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294474-i3663-k480… Hope you find them helpful.

Edited: 13 September 2011, 20:34
Mentioned in this post
Ukraine
Ukraine
Europe
Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Ukraine, Lutsk, Chernivtsi
Level Contributor
22,211 posts
343 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Just remembered these two earlier threads you might interesting:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294473-i3662-k283…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294474-i3663-k458…

Sault Ste. Marie...
Level Contributor
308 posts
192 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Hi Charlie: I would like to add some thoughts to your query as I was in your shoes last year when I went to Ukraine for the first time.

I also don't speak the language so for starters I would recommend learning the Cyrillic alphabet. You don't mention when you are going so if you have time, it wouldn't hurt to try and learn some basic words also. I went again this year and I could actually order my food in the restaurant, although I usually got a little smile from the waiter or waitress, but like in any foreign country they do appreciate when you at least try to speak their language even if you butcher it. I would totally recommend a translator so you can at least communicate with your relatives. Also Google translate has a new nifty little feature but you will need wi-fi, you can type in something in English and it will phonetically write it out for you. Also they have added a Cyrillic keyboard (which they didn't have a couple of months ago) so your relatives can type it out in Cyrillic and you can read it in English.

Ukrainians are a very hospitable people and I would think as you have family there you will be invited into people's homes. So here are my tips: When you receive an invitation be prepared to eat. Ukrainians can have a full course meal on the table in 10 minutes. If you plan on going to more than one house that day, PACE YOURSELF, cause you will get a meal at each house and do not refuse, and at least try a sampling of each dish. One day in our home village we were fed 8 times, I thought I was going to bust. Not sure where you are from but in Canada, we have a large plate that you fill up and then go for seconds if needed. The eating process in Ukraine is a little different. They tend to use small plates and you take a couple of items and then do a shot of cognac or vodka. They you take a couple more items and do another shot. So believe me don't take two holubsti the first round, cause just when you think that there are no more courses coming out there is. Also as Cora mentioned learn Choot Choot, which means just a little and DO NOT refuse a toast. My father use to always toast with Di bosha which I believe means "Glory to God" but I got lots of smiles when I said that, so nystrovya seems more common.

Cora can correct me if this is wrong, but I got the distinct impression that as a guest it was an honour to visit one's house, so even within my family we had to go to each brother's house or each cousin's house and hence we got fed at each place. So not like Canada when someone comes to visit and everyone will gather at one place, in Ukraine the guest is expected to grace each household.

Bring lots of small gifts with you as you will probably get a gift at each household. Like Cora mentioned if you are going for supper flowers, liquor or chocolate work, but for your grandmother you should bring something special. This year I brought a bunch of scarfs, fudge, (their chocolate is better) oh yea and my cousin brought Bounce dryer sheets cause apparently you can't buy them in Ukraine yet and also Twizzlers licorace. I bought chocolate bars and they had them in the store so don't bring those. I gift of money for special people is also appreciated.

Charlie and my biggest tip is don't be nervous, embrace the cultural differences and the newness of being in a different country. It will be a trip of a lifetime.

Mentioned in this post
Ukraine
Ukraine
Europe
Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Ukraine, Lutsk, Chernivtsi
Level Contributor
22,211 posts
343 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Hi LeeAnne! Always great to see you on the forum :)

Many thanks for adding so many amazing observations!

That is interesting, I never actually thought of it until you described, but yes, indeed, we tend to visit each family member in their home, even if we saw them only yesterday in the other family member’s house :) But also much depends on each family’s particular traditions here.

As for your father’s toast, I might probably need to think about it with my head fresh (not the case now at 1am :) but can «Di bosha» rather be «Dai Bozhe», which, depending on context, might mean something along «In the Lord’s will» or «May the Lord grant it»?

Sault Ste. Marie...
Level Contributor
308 posts
192 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Putivl (near Sumy)

Cora as you know I don't have the ear for translations, so yes it could have very well been Dai Bozhe. My father was of Russian descent so would that change things. Hope you have finally got some shut eye by now. LOL

Lee Anne

Reply to: Putivl (near Sumy)
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Sumy
Recent Conversations
More Sumy Topics