Contract fair

Contract fair (контрактовий ярмарок; konkraktovyi yarmarok). Annual fair at which wholesale purchase contracts for manufactured and agricultural products, real-estate sale and lease contracts, and other commercial contracts were made. Contract fairs were introduced at the end of the 15th century in Ukraine and were particularly popular among the nobility and the wealthy burghers and merchants in the cities and towns of Ukraine and Poland. The fairs lasted several weeks during the winter season. The Lviv fair, which was discontinued at the beginning of the 19th century, was the best-known contract fair in the 17th century. In 1774 a contract fair was introduced in Dubno, Volhynia; in 1797 it was transferred to Kyiv and merged with the existing Kyiv fair. The Kyiv Contract Fair took place every year in the second half of February and the beginning of March (known as the Candlemas [Stritenskyi] Fair). Held at first in the city hall, from 1801 it was held in a hall built especially for this purpose by the architect Andrei Melensky in the Podil district. Eventually the contract fairs became ordinary fairs, which continued to function in Ukraine until 1927, when they were banned by the Soviet authorities.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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