Ilya Muromets

Ilya Muromets

Ilya of Murom (full name of the epic – Ilya of Murom the sun of Ivan.) – one of the main characters of Kiev Rus epic, hero, embodying the national ideal of the hero-warrior, popular defender. Muromets is the subject of many ancient song-legends like “The healing of Ilya Muromets” and “Nightingale the Robber”.

Ilya Muromets is, like Lancelot, a legendary figure who was the greatest knight of the court and most represented the values it stood for. Legends about Muromets might have been created during the difficult period when Russia was under the Tatar yoke and ancient cities had to fight for their independence.

It is believed that the birthplace of Ilya of Murom – Karacharovo village under Murom. In another version of this village called Murovsk in the modern Chernigoff region. At the moment both these cities consider themselves to be the birthplace of Ilya of Murom. For a number of versions, the hero was a real prototype – a historical person who lived around 1188, although the Russian chronicles do not mention his name. Also some consider him to be a monk named Ilya Pechorsky. Ilya is beatified as a minor Saint of Orthodox Church. His relics are preserved in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

Baba Yaga

                                       Baba Yaga

Meet Baba Yaga (also: Baba Jaga) is a fearsome witch character with iron teeth. The name of Baba Yaga is composed of two elements. Baba means “old woman, grandmother” and the second element, yaga, means ‘lazybones, sluggard’.

She is also known as Baba Yaga Boney Legs, because, in spite of a ferocious appetite, she is as thin as a skeleton. In Russian that’s: ‘Baba Yaga Kostianaya Noga’.

Her nose is so long that it rattles against the ceiling of her hut when she snores, stretched out in all directions upon her ancient brick oven.

Not being a boringly-conventional witch, she does not wear a hat, and has never been seen on a broomstick. She travels perched in a large mortar with her knees almost touching her chin, and pushes herself across the forest floor with a pestle. Read more on her here.