In the past few years writers have ventured to Kyiv and “discovered” hipster coffee bars and craft beer joints. But let’s face it - while Kyiv’s scene is unique in its own right, if you want a real authentic Ukrainian experience you should get outside the city limits and see rural village life for a change.
Transcarpathia is a must-see region of Ukraine. And if you’re going there you’ll want to see the village of Kolochava, nestled among the Carpathian mountains. The village boasts ten different museums which will surly cater to your interests.
The village is home to a local legend about an infamous outlaw named Mikola Shuhai, who was immortalized by the Czech novelist Ivan Olbracht. Kolochava even has a monument dedicated to the highwayman.
Kolochava is 755 km from Kyiv and the closest major city is Ivano-Frankivsk.
Dzembronya, Ivano-Frankiivsk Oblast
This mountain village is named for the bison which used to roam in the area.
One of the highest villages in Ukraine, it used to be called “the origin of clouds” by the Poles due to fact that it was often enshrouded in mist. Ukrainian author and nationalist Lesya Ukrainka often visited the village for inspiration.
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Dzembronya is 739 km from Kyiv and is also located in the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast.
Opishnya is known as Ukraine’s pottery capital. The art has a history spanning 3,000 years in the region. The village has a museum dedicated to the art, and naturally, a wide variety of ceramic souvenirs is available for purchase.
The village is located in the Poltava oblast, 326 km from Kyiv.
Moryntsy, Cherkassy Oblast
Here one can see the kind of traditional Ukrainian village that inspired the works of the country’s greatest poet- Taras Shevchenko. In fact, the village has a manor-museum dedicated to the man. Morintsy is one stop on the Cherkassy region’s “Golden Horseshoe” tour.
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Moryntsy is one of the closest villages to Kyiv, only 130 km from Kyiv and just two hours by car.
A picturesque village surrounded by thick forests and Carpathian peaks. And nearby is the blue jewel of the Carpathians- Lake Synevyr, after which the village is named. As if that weren’t scenic enough, there’s also the Kamentsky waterfall to impress you with the raw power of the mountain river.
Synevyr is 754 km from Kyiv but can best be reached from either Uzhhorod or Ivano-Frankivsk.
If you’re in Ukraine you should definitely set aside some time to escape from the city for a breath of fresh air and the experience of traditional Ukrainian village culture.
Main photo: shutterstock.com