Verkhovyna (Zhab’ye)

verkhovyna zhabye
Carpathians – is a unique region, which is one of the most mountainous areas in Europe, that is famous for its charm and picturesque. Here among the steep Carpathian Mountains, where Black Cheremosh is racing is capital of Hutsulshyna – Zhab’ye.

Zhab’ye was first mentioned in a document of 1424, when Prince Svydryhajlo handed it to use to Drahosymovych.

There are a lot of different stories and assumptions about the origin of the name Zhab’ye. Some say the name Zhab’ye came from its first alleged settler named Frog (Zhabka), fugitive from low-lying areas. Others say it is  from the swampy coastal areas on both sides of the river Black Cheremosh where in spring there were a lot of frogs. Recently there was a hypothesis of the name of Zhab’ye from an ancient Hutsul god of fire similar to the Lithuanian god of fire Gaby, which was asked to bring the flames and sparks dissipate in the world. The same name is still used to call the house fireplace. This version is confirmed by the fact that in many nations, including Chinese, a frog represents the spirit fire, for the Mongols a frog goddess known as the Goddess of fertility, assistant for childbirth. Positive elements of frogs depicted deities of the Greeks, Romans and other nations. Thus, the origin of the name of Zhab’ye is from ancient Hutsul god of fire is the most probable version.

Zhab’ye (Verhovyna since 1962) is located in the Eastern Carpathians 130 km from the regional center Ivano-Frankivsk, and 31 km from the railway station Vorokhta.

This paradise is inhabited by hutsuls that did not migrate even in difficult times, when there were waves of colonization and migration of peoples through the Carpathian region.

Capital of Hutsulshyna – Zhab’ye

Hutsuls preserved customs and traditions that have their roots in the antiquity. Many of them are associated with cattle – the main occupation of hutsuls. Its customs and rituals associated with the holidays of Christmas, New Year, Easter and others charm with their magic.

Chornohora Mountains – the highest ridge of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Given its position in the center of Hutsulschyna, beauty and richness of nature, and the fact that her tops exceed all others in the Ukrainian Carpathians, Chornogora became the object of culture for hutsuls. Hutsuls celebrate Chornogora (Black Mountain) in their songs and legends, style in their myths and stories.

Why go there, there is nothing – you would think. But no, there is something that you can’t find anywhere in Eastern and Western Europe. First of all, it is majestic mountains, covered with silk grass meadows – polonyna, turbulent flows of cold clear water and cascading silver waterfalls, healing mineral sources (there are more than 100), filled with clean air evergreen fir forests full of berries and mushrooms, cozy Hutsul settlement in the valley mountains basins, architectural and historical monuments, unique natural features and much more. Basically, this all can be found in Switzerland, Austria, France and other Alpine countries, but it’s too civilized there. In the center of the Carpathians, in the wilds of the Chornohora spine, where all six Carpathian two-thousands’ saved, there is almost the only in Europe oasis of untouched pristine mountain nature: unpolluted and still undeveloped by people subalpine and alpine landscapes in all its natural beauty. It is not surprising that every year the amount of tourists from Holland, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, the UK and others is increasing.

Due to the inaccessibility of the mountains, for centuries the territory inhabited by Hutsuls (the ethnic group of Ukrainian highlanders that inhabits the whole territory of Verkhovyna district) civilization with its urbanized society failed to affect this region. It contains many interesting traditions, folk rituals, legends and folk tales and legends that in other regions of Ukraine has long gone and even in other parts of the Carpathians are not as well preserved as here in the center of Hutsulschyna. To see if this is true it’s enough to visit Verhovina on Christmas holidays, Easter, the First Virgin (Feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary August 28 is a church day) or the Green Holidays (Holy Trinity).

Apart from rich tourist excursions, guests are offered meaningful and interesting cultural holiday. This is Hutsul evenings and performances by triple Hutsul musicians, remaking of real Hutsul weddings and concerts at the Hutsul fire and much more. Tourists are in admiration from horseback riding in summer and sleigh pulled by horses in winter. All this complements stereotypes about the rest in the Ukrainian Carpathians – hiking trips in the mountains in summer and skiing on snow-covered slopes in winter.

The most popular in area is the territory are such types of tourism as pedestrian (traveling through the mountains on foot), skiing (arrival for skiing), water (rafting on mountain rivers on catamarans and kayaks) and auto-, mototourism (travel to Carpathians by cars and motorcycles ).

Ski tourism is confined to the ski slopes equipped with ski lifts towing. There are two of them in the area: Pushkar hillside in the village Verhovyna and Zapidky hillside in the village Iltsi. Length of first reaches 320 meters, width of 20 to 60 meters. It is located between two parallel forest belts coniferous forest.

Another popular form of tourism in the region can be considered water one. It is a here mainly due to Black and White Cheremosh. Water tourist experts fell in love with banks of these rivers in the early seventies. They are attracted to thresholds of Black Cheremosh which later got them their own names: “Dzembronya”, “White Horse”,”Huky”.

In this hospitable land tourists always meet friendly hosts. They give house, take care of food, introduce the sights of history and culture, folk customs and traditions, offers a variety of recreational activities or favorite occupations contribute to your participation in the creative process in the workshop of craftsmen, where you can personally carve on wood or embroider and weave, learn to do magic pisankas, burn patterns on the wooden bowl …

Carpathian will charm with its unique and majestic beauty everyone who has seen them ever once…

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