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Friday, 07 October 2022

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Must-see in Ukraine > Town on the Uzh River

 Yaroslav Yadlovsky, Honoured Journalist of Ukraine
Exclusively for Prime Excursion Bureau ltd
 

 

  Photo 1, Uzhgorod. Old Town

 

Uzhgorod is one of the oldest towns not only in the Transcarpathian oblast but in all Ukraine. The first mention about it dates back to the year of 872. It stands on the Uzh River, hence the name – Uzhgorod. Uzhgorod is located in the western part of the Transcarpathia not far from the Ukrainian-Slovakian border which is the borderline between Ukraine and the European Union. The area of the town is almost 40 sq. km., the population is about 117 thousand. In Uzhgorod are represented 70 nationalities, mostly Ukrainians, Hungarians, Russians, Romas, Slovakians and Jews. Most used in the town are Ukrainian, Russian, Hungarian and Slovakian languages, as for confessions – Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Jewish. Considerable part of the town occupies the right bank of the river (Old Town), which is a little bit larger then the left bank – New Town. Modern Uzhgorod is conventionally divided into three historical and architectural parts: the town of the Hungarian period, the town of the Czechoslovakian period and the one of the Soviet period.

 

 

The town-fortress emerged out of a settlement on the Castle Hill. The town is mentioned in the Hungarian Chronicle “Gesta Hungarorum” as Ung. The Ung fortress was the residence of Prince Laborets, executed by Hungarian soldiers on the bank of the Svirzhava River, now the Laborets River in eastern Slovakia.   With the time passing the fortress changed into one of the strongholds of Hungarian feudals in the Transcarpathia. The first mention of the Uzhgorod castle is in 903. In the centre of it there is a castle palace. In the course of centuries the castle had a lot of restorations, so until now out of the oldest stone structures there preserved only part of foundation which one can see in the underground as well as fragments of cornices with roman ornaments. In 1775 the Austrian Empress Maria-Theresa gave the Castle to the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Eparchy. At present there is the Oblast Museum of Local Lore.
During its centuries-old history Uzhgorod was part of a few countries – royal Hungary, Austro-Hungarian empire, Czechoslovakia, the USSR, and at last – independent Ukraine. This town is beautiful any season. The climate in the town is moderate continental, warm summer and mild winter. The Carpathian Mountains influence the Uzhgorod climate protecting the town from cold northern winds. Not accidentally that Uzhgorod is considered a popular tourist centre of Ukraine.  There are a lot of exotic trees thanks to favourable climate in Uzhgorod, such as trees from Japan, Argentina, Canada, the USA, Afghanistan and others. There is one of the best botanical gardens in Ukraine where there are about 3.800 species of plants. The Transcarpathian flora is represented by 400 species. There is a great collection of flowers: 120 species of roses, 50 - gladioluses, 25 species of chrysanthemums, 10 species of palm trees, 250 species of cacti.

 

Photo 2. Uzhgorod Fortress

The popular place for strolls in Uzhgorod is the longest linden boulevard in Europe which extends along Independence Embankment. Especially beautiful the town is when sakuras are in bloom. It looks as if you are in Japan where these strees are holy. Being the “capital” of Transcarpathian region which borders on neighbouring states – Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary – Uzhgorod plays a significant role in the international life of Ukraine. It often becomes the place where international events are held. It is expected that in 2010 Uzhgorod will host Small Olympics – the international sport games of secondary school students. Besides Uzhgorod has mutual partner relations with foreign cities – Yaroslav (Poland), Darmstadt (Germany), Niredgaza and Baykeshchaba (Hungary), Kosice and Michalovice (Slovakia), Ceska Lipa (Czech Republic), Corvallis (USA), Moscow and Orel (Russia), Harsens (Denmark), Satu Mare (Romania). Sister cities exchange delegations and experience in different areas of life.

  

One of the oldest active church is of central Europe is St. Ann’s horyanska rotunda of the 12-13 centuries. Frescoes are created by northern Italian Masters in Proto-Renaissance manner. In the 15 cent. they added the rectangular church of St. Nicolas’ to the rotunda. Worth seeing for visitors in Uzhgorod are also other churches – Exaltation of Holy Cross founded in 1640, catholic church of St. George – first mentioned in 1332, the Reformation church, Orthodox Intercession church built by Russian emigrants in 1930. In People’s Square near the local government building is the monument to Taras Shevchenko which is at present a place of all patriotic events.
Uzhorod is included into several tourist routes developed by the Chair of Tourism of the National University. In particular these are wine and gastronomic tours. The first acquaints with well-known wine makers of the land, gives addresses of wine cellars and wine tasting rooms, where one can taste aromatic Transcarpathian   wines. One of the most popular wine tasting rooms is “Chardonnay”. Those who like gastronomic tourism will be offered national dishes of ethnic groups represented in Uzhgorod, that is Ukrainian, Hungarian, Slovakian, Romas, German and  Jewish cuisine. We can’t help mentioning the Uzhgorod coffee. They prepare it everywhere.
After having eaten and cheered by the Transcarpathian wine and coffee we recommend you to take a tour around Uzhgorod during which you will also visit the old cemetery Kalvaria. Take a stroll along Korzo street, the favourite place of local bohemia and you will sure want to visit Uzhgorod once again.  
 

Photo 3 Uzhgorod, The Oblast Philharmony