Travel to Dovbush Rocks in Ukraine

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huge stone in forest

Lovely Yaremche town is one of the most famous destinations in the Ukrainian Carpathians, and the rocks of Dovbush are considered as one of the most popular touristic sights in this area. So who was Oleksa Dovbush, what awaits for us on his mountain path and where did he hide his mysterious treasures? Let`s find out.

Oleksa Dovbush (1700-1745), born in a poor peasant family in Pechenizhyn village of Kolomya region of Ukraine, was often called “Hutsul Robin Hood”. He was the most well-known leader of so-called “opryshky movement” – the rebel movement of Ukrainian peasants in Galicia, Zakarpattya and Bukovina against Polish, Moldavian, Hungarian feudal lords and then against the Austrian government in the XVI-XIX centuries. Due to the wide support of peasants, brilliant conspiracy skills and art of sudden attacks, opryshky stood against their enemies with great success. Opryshky squats were formed out of ex-peasants who decided to take the arms and to resist the oppression of foreigners.
forest with trees, roots and stones on the ground
These relatively small squats (usually consisting of not more than few tens of people) mostly dislocated in the high Carpathian mountains, so opryshky were almost uncatchable. In 1738, Oleksa Dovbush became the head of one of such squats. Using partisan war tactics, Oleksa with his people attacked landed properties of rich foreign landlords, collected their money and belongings and gave it to peasants. According to the Carpathian legends, the squat of Oleksa Dovbush found shelter on the territory of modern Yaremche right in that area that is nowadays called “the path of Dovbush” or “the rocks of Dovbush”.
mountain view from wooded hill
The path (or trail) of Dovbush in Ukraine is a unique memorial art and nature complex that starts in a reserve terrain called “Dribka”. The path, surrounded by thick forest and rocks, goes up right to Zaprutski Gorgany mountain chain. Then the way passes back to the entry point of the rocks of Dovbush excursion, making a close loop. To see the whole complex, tourists usually need 3-4 hours, and this time is worth it.
If you travel to Yaremche and pick the path of Dovbush route, you will start on Svobovy street near the big wooden sign decorated with traditional Hutsul hatches – the integral attributes of any member of opryshky squat. The admission to the territory of the complex costs UAH 25. Tourists can explore the rocks of Dovbush in Ukraine on their own or visit the site with a guided excursion offered by numerous agencies in Yaremche.

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Entering the path of Dovbush, you will instantly step in a mystical Carpathian forest with huge pines, spruces and moss-covered stones. On some trees, you will see special signs that will prevent you from loosing the way. The path offers great diversity of picturesque places: here you will see narrow way twisting among old trees up the hill, weird network of roots on the ground, and, of course, amazing panoramic views on observation platforms.
Walking along the path, you will surely notice thematic sculptures made by Ukrainian master Dariy Grabar. These artworks are dedicated to the liberation of Galicia peasants from serfdom in 1848 and to the activity of opryshky squats in the Carpathians in the XVIII-XIX centuries. Besides, you will find many informational stands with texts and pictures describing fauna, flora and general ecosystem of the Carpathians along with the history of opryshky movement and the life of Oleksa Dovbush. You will learn about clothes and fighting technique of opryshky warriors and will even read a folk song about Oleksa Dovbush. The information on the stands is given in both Ukrainian and English languages.
mysterious green forest
The approximate length of the Dovbush trail is 3 km. While going up this path, you will see beautiful views over the Carpathian mountains above Prut River, Gorgan-Yavirnyk chain and Yamna village. The path is earthy, but it also has parts where you will have to walk on slippery rocks, so be careful and do not ignore special hand railings installed in such places. After walking for a while, you will see a group of huge rocks up to 20 meters in height. That`s the Dovbush rocks – rocky formations with a net of cracks. Local people say that opryshky warriors used to stay in such places and even hide their treasures in rocks` fractures. In modern times, the rocks are a favorite place for climbers who love to train here. Around the rocks, you will find several observation platforms.
beautiful view over forest and rock
You will also see caves – another interesting element of the Dovbush path excursion. There are numerous caves along the way, but one of them is special. The legend says that there is a cave where Oleksa Dovbush hid his gold and other treasures. It is possible to find the entrance to this cave only once a year, on Ivana Kupala night (summer solstice). However, even if someone finds the treasure, it will not make that person happy. The legend tells that the treasures are under spell, and the one who takes it out of the cave, will be turned into a stone till the end of times.
Mysterious “rock of Dovbush” is one more must-see point on the Dovbush`s path. There are two legends that people tell about it. One legend says that Oleksa Dovbush wanted to scare enemies with his unusual power so he took this huge rock and threw it right at them. The other one tells that an unknown master painted a portrait of Oleksa on the stone. However, no one can see it, because the portrait is on the stone`s bottom. 
A visit to the Dovbush path is a good choice for adults, kids and older people. This is not a difficult route, so you do not have to worry that you will get tired.
Those who want more adventures may take the way upwards on the left from the Dovbush rocks. In such way, they can reach the top of Makovytsia mountain – it will take much more time and effort, but the breathtaking panoramas of mountains and Yaremche observed from there are surely worth it.
Photo source: shutterstock.com. All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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