In the fall of 1240, Baty launched a siege of Kyiv. The Tatar-Mongols settled down against the walls of the city in a huge, noisy camp. They burned bonfires, sang riotous songs, danced ... Kyiv heard the neighing of horses, the clang of weapons, the roar of camels.

Storm of Kyiv in 1240
Storm of Kyiv in 1240

The townspeople said goodbye to each other, waiting for death. And so, on one cloudy December day, Baty launched an assault on Kyiv... The majestic capital of Rus turned into ruins. The city seemed to have died out, subsided, the few surviving from the Tatar robbery were hiding in the forests. Among them were glass masters. Their property was looted. But they carried away with them talented hands and an inventive mind. And this turned out to be not so little. Soon in the southern forests of Rus, small clay stoves began to smoke. They were installed in wooden huts.

These were secret glass workshops, nicknamed the guttas. Here the skill of Rus glass-makers continued...

In the smoky twilight, they worked from dawn to dawn. The low roof of the gutta seemed to crush, oppress, clasping to the ground. But the glass things turned out truly wonderful! These were jugs, hookahs with gilding, funny vessels in the form of birds or animals.

Senior men fussed around the hot stove, women painted dishes. There was enough work even for children: they pounded paints, brought sand to the gutta, and put together the ready dishes.

Guttas Trade
Guttas Trade
For many centuries, products of South Rus glassblowers were exported to Moscow, Riga, Romania, and Germany. They continued to work even in the seventeenth century when the first glassworks appeared in the Moscow kingdom.

Now it seems surprising, but those first plants could not withstand competition with forest guttas. The factories had to imitate the guttas products, making the same funny jugs in the form of bears, hares or birds, and to paint decanters and hookahs with the same bright colors. Otherwise, the goods were not bought.