When you live in Ukraine, you most likely start you trip to the Carpathians from this town. It is extremely popular among the tourists and holds spectacular sights. Mukachevo. A small, quiet place where you can find something interesting for each taste, a town which you will not regret visiting. This is a great example of multicultural community, polite and respectful people, gorgeous nature and breath-taking landscape.
The first thing you notice when you come to Mukachevo is that it is surrounded by the mountains. Although, when you go to the centre, you will not be able to see that. But as soon as you go to the highway, which surrounds the town, or when you stand on the bridge over river Latorytsia, you will see how marvellous it actually is. The town whispers to you that it hides secrets which you cannot find out in one day or even in two days stay. To feel this place, you need to come at least for three days.
Though in some places, like from one of the bridges across Latorytsia river, you can take an amazing picture like this one. And it is not Amazon River. But you can try to trick your friends. As you can see, the sky looks pretty scary. It looks like it is going to rain. if you read the news, the top one is that weather in the Carpathians and in general in the Western regions of Ukraine is not normal as for the summer. It is raining almost non-stop, a week ago it was snowing in some mountain villages of Zakarpattya region. When you pack your suitcase, check the forecast.
Along the river bank you will see this beautiful plant that look like a wedding dress. But do not get over excited about it. If you touch, do not squeeze it on a sunny day because you will have a severe burn. The juices of this plant contain the oils which under the sun will burn your skin. The process of recovering can take up to one month. But it seems that insects are enjoying resting on this dangerous flowers.
The town is very compact. As soon as you pass the centre, you will see the district of private houses, very fancy private houses. Everything shows that the owners care about their property. As we went there in June, one of the wonders we noticed there, on the front yards, was blooming Hortensia. If you haven’t seen it before, it will surprise you a lot that in one bush there are flowers of different colours – blue, purple and pink. In Mukachevo they are everywhere.
Next thing you realise is that actual centre of the town is very small. It has many cafés where you can just relax and talk to your friends. There are several monuments and old buildings here. This main alley is a pedestrian zone so you will not see any cars here. Right in the middle there is a Ukrainian flag. As you can see in the photo, the pavement is covered with sett (or Belgium blocks) which is very common for old Ukrainian towns. The government usually does not allow to change it because it is one of the historical relics. You cannot imagine how many heels where broken here. Keep this in mind and choose the shoes for this trip wisely.
Mukachevo is filled with interesting monuments. It will not be hard to find most of them as they are placed right on the main alley. But if you have a goal to find all the monuments, here is a guide for you.
The first and the most popular monument is a chimney sweep. Why is it popular? Because it has the cat. Everything gets more exciting if it has the cat. The head of the cat got golden because people touched it for a good luck.
Go further, and you will see Kyrylo and Mefodiy square. Guess what was placed right in the middle of this square? Of course the monument to Kyrylo and Mefodiy. They are very important for Ukrainian and Slavic cultures in general as they created the Glagolitic alphabet.
Standing in the middle of the square, you will see the theatre building. It is so tiny that you can feel like you time travelled to the past where, apparently, it was enormous. An interesting fact is that the town even has a cinema (Peremoha – in English “Victory”). Usually such small towns do not have this wide range of entertainment.
A bit further to the left, there is a monument to Oleksandr Dukhnovych. He was another important person for Ukrainian culture and language. He was a famous “budytyl” (awakener) of Slavic culture. In the picture you can see that one building on the left is covered with plastic. It is now being reconstructed by the administration of the town. This is very important. When you are in the centre or passing by the closest to the centre streets, you will notice how many rubbish bins there are here. Even in Kyiv there is no so many rubbish bins. Maybe that is the reason why streets here are a lot cleaner. People do not have to search where to throw away their trash.
Right opposite to Dukhnovych monument, there is a cathedral and another monument. You can guess this one. People in Western regions of Ukraine are very religious. There are many cathedrals, churches and monasteries. Most of them are beautiful.
The most exciting sight to see in Mukachevo is Palanok castle. As it is situated right on top of the 68-metre-hill, you can see it every time you enter or leave the town. No one knows when it was built but it was first mentioned in the documents in XI century.
The entrance to the castle is not free and the working hours are limited. Keep in mind that like in Germany everything is closed here on Sundays. And on Saturdays shops and sights work till 15:00. But you can always come to the top of the hill and see how beautiful Mukachevo is from that height.
The last tiny thing (literally tiny) that you need to see it a Celt mini sculpture. Just 300 m away from the railway station, placed on the river bank, it looks very cute.
Mukachevo is the town created for people who want to escape from the crowds and routine. It seems that when you come here, time stops. This town has European spirit, the magic of old narrow streets, quiet centre and people caring about each other. The town where cultures are mixed and still people are happily living together, where Soviet and pure Ukrainian are mixed. You need to feel it. This town has an exceptional soul.