Today in Mukachevo, a Parade of chimney sweeps: where people live in this “lucky” profession

For the second year in a row in Transcarpathia, Mukachevo, July 27, hold a Parade of chimney sweeps. This date is not taken from the ceiling: it’s the birthday of one of the last representatives of the profession, urban celebrities and even attractions — chimney sweep bertolona linnera Toth. In honor of the “last of the Mohicans” in the old center kicks off the procession with an orchestra for children will hold master classes and competition for high-speed sewing buttons, will draw with charcoal and dance. Mukachevo pastry chefs have already prepared the birthday gifts and prizes for the winners.

But Toth, in Mukachevo — Bertie-Bachi, takes all honors modestly, as if he didn’t become the prototype for the famous monument to the chimney sweep in the historic centre and the cause of the city’s celebrations. Unique specialist almost 70, he retired, but still in the ranks, star fever does not suffer and conscientiously cleans people’s chimneys. And in his spare time, like going group guided tours on the roof for tourists, devoting prying into the secrets of the profession. Most modern Ukrainians have heard about chimney sweeps only from fairy tales is a craft rooted in the past with stove heating, followed by revers street lights and maintenance.

We spoke with a unique Bertie-Bachi on his professional longevity, and found out why the chimney sweep is always polished to a Shine buttons.


— Bertolon Bartolovic as involved in “dirty business”?

— I’m from the village Kosino (Beregovo district), father was a chimney sweep (married with his daughter in 1973). When he became difficult to ride long distances by bike, he got a job in the district, and we moved to Mukachevo whole family. Somehow father-in-law said, “Bertie, I want — we go together, you know how it is done.” I went, worked for a month — loved it! 8 years in tandem with the father, then 5 with another relative. And so off we go, working for the 45th year. 5 years ago put me assistant (Bertie works in a private utility company) although a young professional, no complaints.”

And what is great today, the demand for chimney sweeps? Enough work?

— Today there were 4 bids yesterday for two. Work every day enough, and we all Mukachevo only two. And the entire area serviced! I think 3-4 sweep our area is absolutely necessary: people are now again starting to heat with wood, from which more soot in the chimneys. And the applications come not only from the private sector, but also from residents of apartment buildings — there are more apartment buildings without Central heating.

Now no one wants to work as a chimney sweep, although the profession is very popular. In 1973, when I started in Mukachevo we had 12 people in Beregovo district — 22, in Svalyava, Volovets — 2-3 people. And now all want money, not work. The chimney sweep gets 2800 UAH, one house is about 100 UAH. So in the profession remains the one who loves her. I had 6 students, of which the chimney sweep was only 1. And I’m already 8th year in retirement, but chose this lesson and will work until I die.

Monument to the chimney sweep in the center of Mukachevo created in the image of Tovt

— How do you work? What is included in military Arsenal?

— I have a spring for a brick chimney, two brush — one 7 meters long, the second 3. And two weights — big and small. The equipment dates back to the craft, but something to replace it don’t even think (the modern chimney sweeps use video equipment. — Ed.). Receive an application — go to perform. The dirtier the chimney, the worse the ventilation, bad extractor, and the housing — less heat. It is necessary to go into the house to check the thrust: if it is not, then, begin to clean the chimney directly from the kitchen.

Brush sticks and listen: where I have to fight off layers of soot chisel or hammer. Some chimneys with a length of over 15 meters! Then go up to the roof: one from the top pulls the rope with the weight, which knocks the soot, and the second bypasses all premises where there are hoods, and checks that fell out, how clean ventilation. In the course of going wire brush and weight-thorn on a long rope. As soon as it begins to pass through the pipe freely, then knocked everything he could, put things in order. If brush-weights do not help, even wall we have to break.

Yesterday 4 hours of pain with this chimney of an old building that is completely out of control with him! Fortunately, the owner was allowed to punch a wall, then half an hour of administration. I now have a partner working more, and I with him: “Bertie-Bachi, let you post it.” Come out wherever you go like a cat, and punches! And I see from below: pours a little — call it, say, Andrew, go for it! That says it all.


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— Hard work for you? As a coal miner?

— How do you say… Work hard, but not much. Sometimes ask, with insurance or without work — because Verkhotura. Answer: with insurance — it does not work, and a bit of a nuisance. Wear a belt and hook it is usually not for that, and the chimney can reach 5 meters from the pipe, an insurance policy on her wound. There are roofs that climb is really tough and dangerous, but what to do? In older homes, by the way, there are special adaptations for chimney sweeps. And with the new, if the roof is not flat, there will be trouble.

— And whether the chimney of your fears, beliefs?

— Yes, our work is not in a comfortable office, people have to look down sometimes. In the profession, across all sorts: some are afraid of heights, the other up calmly, as to your attic. Rumor has it that we have due to soot bouquet of professional sores. But how many know the chimney sweeps — have not heard that someone was ill with something special. I’m here for 68 years, twice was ill with pneumonia. About us, chimney sweeps, actually a lot of tales to tell — that I, for one, found as treasure in the chimney, made a fortune. In the old days, I heard, found when cleaning all sorts of hiding places, but I was so unlucky. Talk about lucky: we’re not very superstitious people, but if a cat runs across the road, waiting to move to, or back: I know that the day will not work out, though burst.

— You actually brand. Not tired of the excessive attention of people? This summer, on the day of your birth even going to set a record — to sew a huge button with the chimney sweep from thousands of small.

— Yes, let the people rejoice. Child goes to mother says: “Oh, there’s caminar!” and asks to stop. Please, I don’t feel sorry — be, baby rubbed my button, and I walked away. Do not want to be offended.


Workers brush and chimney in the cultures of the different peoples of Europe has always been considered a symbol of luck and good fortune. To meet a chimney sweep on the street was a sure sign of imminent success, and to be sure, leaned to RUB the button on his form, that wish came true. Each of the six uniform buttons responsible for the section of happiness: a good marriage, wealth, fame. With the same purpose in the old days was supposed to pull the hairs from his superdetki, to touch the cylinder or even a peck on the cheek. In the UK today opened to invite the chimney sweep guest of honor at the wedding that the marriage failed.

And in Mukachevo according to Maksim Adamenko, the head of the local tourist information centre, Toth overcame early students. Running out at recess and having met Bertie-Bachi, surrounded him from all sides, pulling the buttons of his jacket and made a “five in control”. “We even have a saying: “Bertie-Bachi — for good luck!” he says. In 2010, someone from the regional administration came up with the idea to immortalize interesting character in bronze, and Bertie was a great prototype. “And last year we thought, in England, the country parades of chimney sweeps. What Transcarpathia worse?” explains Adamenko.