Astonishing mountain views, healing fresh air, unity with nature and authentic culture of the Western Ukraine… This is how Zakarpattya can be briefly described. In fact, this region hides so many wonders and amazing places, that it would be hard to fit them all into one article. However, we did our best, and chose the top 7 places of Zakarpattya worth paying a visit.
The beautiful Skakalo waterfall is located on Matekov mountain stream near Chinadiyevo village not far from Mukacheve town. The waterfall was named after Ukrainian verb “skakaty” (“to jump”) because it literally “jumps” over the rocks of Nyzhnie Grabovishe mountain area. Skakalo consists of only three cascades. Despite the fact that this 4-meter high waterfall is very small in comparison with other well-known Carpathian waterfalls such as Shypit and Probiy, its beauty will steal your heart anyway. This tiny wonder of nature, surrounded by picturesque Carpathian views, is definitely worth seeing. If you want to visit Skakalo waterfall, you will have to walk from “Vodogray” hotel complex in Chinadiyevo for around 20 minutes. The path to the waterfall has direction signs, so you will not get lost.
Palanok Castle in Mukacheve
This majestic fortress is the main attraction of Mukacheve – a cozy Carpathian town on the banks of Latoritsa River. The castle was mentioned for the first time in chronicles of the IX century as a wooden fortification of Slavic tribes. In 1290, the castle became the property of Hungarian king. In 1393, prince Fedir Koriatovych moved to Zakarpattya from Podillya, and the Hungarian king gifted him Mukacheve and surrounded areas. After the death of Koriatovych, Palanok Castle changed numerous owners and undergone many reconstructions and modifications. The fortress has survived lots of sieges. The longest siege of Palanok lasted three years – from 1685 to 1688. In that period, the castle was owned by Hungarian princess Ilona Zrínyi, the head of Hungarian and Croatian movement against Austrian Empire. The castle is located on a 68-meter high hill. The building consists of three parts: Lower, Middle and Higher castles. Palanok Castle is worth attention as a great example of medieval fortification architecture.
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Deer Farm near Khust
This is the only one farm in Ukraine, specialized on breeding spotted deer. The farm is located between Iza and Lypcha villages around 15 km from Khust town. This farm is unique because the owners do not breed animals for meat or leather. They do that to produce special medical drug that can be made only of deer horns. This drug can be used to heal fatigue, neurasthenia, neurosis, hypotonia and plenty of other diseases. Around 130 deer live on the territory of the farm, which embraces 57 hectares. Tourists go here to watch and to hand-feed friendly animals, that come to their feedboxes in mornings and evenings.
Saint Miklosh Castle in Chinadiyevo village
Saint Miklosh (Michael) Castle was built in the XV century as a typical Romanic feudal residence. It is a two-story building of simple rectangular shape with two towers. The thickness of castle walls exceeds 1 meter. The castle was originally owned by the rich family of Perini barons. Ilona Zrínyi, the wife of Transylvanian prince Francis II Rákóczi, secretly met with Emeric Thököly, the head of Hungarian rebels, in this castle. By the way, Emeric became her second husband after the death of Rákóczi. At later times, the building was used as a prison and as a storage. During many years, the castle had been abandoned, but in the beginning of 2000s Ukrainian painter Joseph Bartosh decided to rent Saint Miklosh castle. He put many efforts into renovation of the building. Currently, the partly reconstructed castle hosts art expositions and live concerts.
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Rakhiv, a town in the North East part of Zakarpattya region, is located in a mountain hollow on the height 430 meters above sea level. It is the most high-altitude town of Ukraine. Due to its geographic location, unique nature and authentic Hutzul culture, Rakhiv is famous as one of the most popular touristic and recreational centers of the Western Ukraine. In Rakhiv, guests can stay in a tourist camp, in hotels or in private cottages. Rakhiv is the land of legends, trembita sound and vivid dances. This town has kept its old language and traditions. Here tourists can watch old rituals dedicated to the celebrations of Christmas, Easter, Summer Solstice and other holidays. Rakhiv is also a great place for doings extreme water sports in Tysa River and for bathing in its numerous small waterfalls.
Synevyr is the largest and the deepest lake of Ukraine. Besides, this is the most famous lake of Ukrainian Carpathians. The lake, which is around 10 000 years old, is situated on the height of 989 meters above sea level in the upstream of Tereblya River. Synevyr embraces 7 hectares; it is surrounded by beautiful spruces and beeches. The depth of the lake varies from 16 meters (average) to 24 meters (the deepest point). In 1989, the National Synevyr park was founded on the territory around the lake. People tell a mysterious old legend about the name of this crystal lake. The legend says that hundreds of years ago the territory of the Carpathians was owned by an old count. He had a young and pretty daughter who was called Syn because of her blue eyes (“syniy” in Ukrainian means “blue”). Once upon a time, Syn was walking down the mountain hills gathering flowers, and suddenly she met a young man called Vyr. Syn and Vyr fell in love with each other, but the old count was against their relationship because the beloved man of his daughter was poor. The count has sentenced Vyr to death. Since then, Syn had been weeping over her lost love, and she had cried so many tears that they turned into the big Synevyr lake.
Read: Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
Schönborn Castle and Park
The elegant Schönborn castle is located in a small Karpaty village only 10 kms away from Mukacheve town. In 1728, the emperor Karl VI gifted the lands in the area of Mukacheve to Austrian archbishop L. Schönborn. The new owners have built a wooden castle here. In 1890-1895, E. Schönborn constructed a magnificent stone castle on the same place. Eclectic architecture with elements of Renaissance and Neo-Gothic make the building look like a French castle from the times of Louis XIV. The project of the castle is based on astronomic concept: 365 windows correspond to the number of days in a year, 52 rooms – to the number of weeks, and 12 entrances symbolize 12 months. The castle is decorated with numerous towers, wind vanes, bright tiles, colorful stained glasses and heraldic fretwork. On clock tower, tourists can see the family crest of Schönborns with lion and crown. Those who go inside the castle are impressed with interior design, for example, stairs and fireplace. Schönborn castle is surrounded by beautiful English garden with the territory of 19 hectares. In the park, visitors can find rare trees and a lake that has shape of Austro-Hungary.
A journey to these picturesque places of Zakarpattya will bring you unforgettable experiences and emotions. Enjoy your trip!
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