The region of Verkhovyna is the central area of Hutsulshchyna that is part of the highlands of the Ukrainian Carpathians. It has a rich cultural and historical tradition, which was maintained due to they love and respect of the Hutsuls to their and due to the natural isolation of this with difficulty accessible, distant highland.
To the region of Verkhovyna belong the village Verkhovyna and 42 highland populated areas, which are subordinated to 1 village council and 21 other village authorities.
In every populated community, there are valuable monuments of history, culture and nature. All the highland villages have their natural speciialities, that differ from the other villages of Hutsulshchyna. The region of Verkhovyna has preserved in greater degree its own traditional forms of highland agriculture, traditions and customs of the Hutsuls, which go far back to lordly times of Ukraine.
In order to learn in detail these largest mountain villages and the eminent natural places, it is necessary to make a few journeys on village roads that follow rocky-slopes along the rivers Black Cheremosh, White Cheremosh, Iltsi and Probiyna. We invite you to a culture-finding tour of the regional roads and paths of Verkhovyna to dwell in its highland villages, in which – despite very harsh living and working conditions and the complicated historical challenges – a rich etnocultural and historical traditions of the Carpathians generally and the region of Verkhovyna especially have been preserved.
This village lies in the lower part of route of the river Cheremosh and it is one of the largest villages of the region. The natural and climatic conditions are the best in this area. Here lives the regionally well-known family of I.Mynaylyuk (Shkapa), whose both sons, Petro and Semen, are talented violinists that have composed many Hutsul melodies.
In Biloberezka was born V.Kobrynsky, the founder of the Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttya in Kolomyya. Here live also the 90-year-old blind storyteller P.Shlymkevych (Khudymy), who carries the local banner for Hutsul folklore and furthermore the poet O.Knyzky.
This is the most self-sufficient village of Hutsulshchyna. H.Khotkevych opened here in 1910 a Hutsul theater, where the performances were in the Hutsul dialect. It appeared in many cities of Ukraine, Russia and Poland. L.Kurbas and O.Remez cooperated with the theater. In Krasnoyillya there is a Museum of H.Khotkevych and also a museum of Hutsul Theater under the direction of V.Sinitovych. Based on the teaching staff of local villageschool one founded an amateur theater society of H.Khotkevych. Under the direction of M.Didushko, their society had performances in Kiev, Kharkov, Lviv and it took part in theater festivals in Poland.
One of the highest mountainous villages in Ukraine, it lies on an intersection of two mountain ranges that are more than 1000 meters above sea level. The village opens beautiful panoramas on the Chorna Hora range and the Carpathians in Pokuttya-Bukovina. In difference to most villages of Verkhovyna this village is not surrounded by forests, but by meadows and pasture-land (polonyna). It is however the only region in the region which has no permanent roadway connection. Native of Perekresne is the in Hutsulia and Ukraine known master of national crcraftsmanship in Kosiv he opened a family museum of art.
The village is famous among the Hutsuls for its music ensembles and local musicians, who are invited to play at Hutsul weddings and to appear at all Hutsul festivals of music. Music activities here are an old tradition , passed on through generations from father to son. In the village live such talented musicians like threcymbals-player I.Sorych and the violinists V.Ilyuk and I.Martytschuk. Most of the villagers occupy themselves with traditional methods of highland agriculture, craftmanships and occupations.
It is a typical Hutsul village, only that here the people s culture and customs, which are typical for a highland community, are better preserved than elsewhere. In 1920 it was, led by the local villager Dmytro Karabchuk, a centre of of the Hutsul uprising against the colonial Polish regime. The first teacher in the school in Holovy was L.Harmatyi. Before he teached in Kryvorivnya, where I.Franko read to him his writings. In the school of Holovy teached the talanted writer M.Lomatsky, who immigrated later to Germany where he wrote a number of documentary-artistic books on Hutsulshchyna.
A native of Holovy is the writer P.Shekeryk (Donykiv),a famous scholar on Hutsulshchyna. Hecollectd folkloristic-etnographical material for I.Franko,V.Hnatyuk and M. Kotsyubynsky. 1935-1939 he organized the publishing of the annual “Hutsylsky kalendar” and published his articlesin varous publications in Lviv. In Hutsul dialect he wrote an autobiographical book “Did Ivanchik”, which has 500 pages and is prepared for publication in the journal “Hutsulia”.
This small highland village has a central part along both sides of the river White Chermosh and a larger population on the outskirts which are on higher land. Most of the population is occupied with highland activities.Here one has preserved many traditional customs and rituals of the area. Recently the villages began the building of a modern wooden church. In Stebni lived the generally known musician H.Belmeha (Rubaniv), who played Hutsul melodies on the Hutsul floyara instrument. The local regard him as equal to the violinists Havytsya, Mohur and Shkapa.
It is one of the oldest villages of Hutsulia (Hutsulshchyna) and it lies in the middle of route of the White Cheremosh. In the village was one of the oldest churches of the region, next to which the artist I.Trush painted a portrait of I.Franko. A known priest and community activist I.Popel served in the church and he in 1029 took part in the Hutsul uprising. In his house were I.Franko, Lesya Ukrainka, V.Hnatyuk and O.Makovyy were visitors. On material that he collected in this village I.Franko wrote a story “The Hutsul King”. In the 80-es of the 20th cent. the atheists destroyed the old church, what is a great lossfor the spiritual-cultural life of the land. Now a new church stands in her place.
This village lies on the right bank of the White Cheremosh river. On the left bank lies a village with the same name that belongs to the district Putyl in the region of Chernivtsi. Similar identically named villages along the Cheremosh river appeared historically as new borders along the river were determined two foreign states that controlled the territories of this land – Poland and Romania. The village has a museum of Hutsulian folklore and a amateur video-and cinema studio was opened by the talented villager Ivan Dronyak. Up to the 50-es of the 20th cent. functioned a hidro-power station on the White Cheremosh river – from it remain only ruins.
This old Hutsul village is surrounded by high mountains with fir forests. From Hrynyava comes the name of the nearby picturesque Carpathian mountains range between the White Cheremosh and the Black Cheremosh – Hrynyavsky mountain range. The village has preserved a traditional highland character, the basis of which is forestry, development of herds of cattle and the collecting of berries and mushrooms.The difficult natural-climatic conditions in the Carpathian Mountains have influenced the conserving traditional examples of local wood architecture in the village. This applies to the houses, buildings for handwork as for all types of highland agricultural activities.
The village lies in the highland of the Hrynyava mountains. The river Probyina flows through the village and it continues to flow through narrow openings among rocks to reach the White Cheremosh. The picturesque mountain view is completes with sporadic wooden houses built in Hutsul style. The village lies 55 kilometers from the regional centre and the narrow highland road is washed away by flood water. The villagers in this area live in difficult highland conditions of the Carpathians.
It is the farthest village from Verkhovyna. The roadway marks 57 kilometers. It is one of the border villages to Romania. Most villagers are occupied in the forestries, care for the cattle or collect berries and mushrooms.Well preserved are old customs and traditions of the region. The isolation in a mountainous region influences daily living conditions. Round the village old fir forests, where rare wild animals roam.
In the village of Krasnyk flows the river Black Cheremosh through a natural rocky opening between the two mountain ranges called Krynta and Kostrycha This was once a very dangerous narrow spot for Carpathian workers that floated down logs on rafts. To-day one organizes competitions with kayaks and catamarans. In Krasnyk lived the family of V.Manchuk, whose son Alexander Manchuk was murdered in 1941 by the NKVD in the prison of Zhabye (Verkhovyna). O.Manchuk was a talented Hutsul poet that authored the collection “Zhabyesky novels”, which was published 2000 by “Hutsulia” (USA).
The highland river Bystrets flows through the village that obtained its name from this river with clear mountain water. Near the ravine Kedrovaty lies a natural swamp with ceder trees. On the territory of Bystrets lies the highland meadow called Hadzhina, where large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep pasture. Here one has preserved the ancient life and agriculture on a highland plateau. In Bystrets was the villa of the Polish writer S.Vinzenz, the author of an epic tetralogy about Hutsulia called “On the highland meadow”.
This village, the most highest in Ukraine, lies under the steep slopes of the Chornohora range. In Dzhembronya begins the shortest path onto the mountain Pip Ivan with the ruins of a two-storeyed brick building and a tower as an astronomical observatory at the top. Hutsuls regard Chorna Hora as their sacred mountain. Here in ancient times there was a pagan temple. As echo of these a ancient people’s tradition of mass gatherings on the Chorna Hora on the night on the eve of Ivan Kupala. In the thick forests around Dzhembronya once lived bisons, which gave the village its name. On the outskirts of Dzhembronja, in Stepanska, from where a picturesque panorama of the Chorna Hora mountain range is demonstrated, lived every summer the known Ukrainian graphist Yakutovych, who participated in the production of the film “Shadows of forgotten Ancestors”.
The village of Zelene covers the largest territory in the region of Verkhovyna. This village marks the border (40 kilometers long) between Ukraine and Romania. In the village of
that belongs to the village council of Zelene, there is a military border unit. From here commences a roadway to Romania that goes along the slopes of Rusky Doland the mountain Roha. The villages stretches itself 60 kilometers along the river Black Cheremosh. The village lies near the third largest mountain range, of the Ukrainian Carpathians namely Chorna Hora (Pip Ivan). To Pip Ivan was erected a highland road from the neighboring village of Shebene through the highlands of Vesnarka near the glacial lake Maricheyka.
During the twenties of the 19th cent. the villagers from the neighborhood transported on Hutsul horses along this road building materials and took part in the erection of the two-storeyed stone building and round tower with the astronomical observatory on the Chorna Hora mountain. This village was one of the centres of the uprising of the Hutsuls in 1920. Here was born the Ukrainian composer and violinist V. Hrymalyuk (Mohur). In 1971 be became Laureate of the International Music Congress in Moscow. Here he performed his own composition “Morning in the highlands” in the Concert hall of P.Chaykovsky. The musical ensemble of Hrymalyuk participated on the film “Shadows of forgotten Ancestors”. In Zelene lives the talented embroiderer Vasilina Yanushevska.
This village is famous for its mineral water spring, which is similar to “Yesentukha” (or Georgian “Burzhomi”). It is called “Burkut”, which means sour and this gave the local population its name. In summer 1901 in Burkut dwelled Lesya Ukrainka more than 40 days. She was treated with “Burkut” Here she wrote a serarate cycle of poems. Twice came I.Franko to Burkut to visit Lesya Ukrainka and he prepared her a fish dish of trouts that he personally caught.
It lies alongside the slopes of the mountain chain Kostrycha where you find a beautiful view of the Chorna Hora range. The roadway from Verkhovyna to Vorokhta leads through a narrow rocky opening in the swamp of Kryva and through the highland pass of Kryvopillya. Here opens up a view on Verkhovyna. In Kryvopole lives the eminent master of hutsulian woodcarving R.Borteychuk. From Kryvopole comes the scriptwriter V.Portyak.
This village is one of the highest in Ukraine. It lies on a plateau between the mountains Pysany Kamin and Ihrets. The area is also called “village on seven winds”. Through it over a pass leads a roadway from Verkhovyna to Kosiv. From Bukovets begins the highland road onto the mountain Pysany Kamin (Painted stone). At the top of the mountain lies a giant rock with mysterious sacrificial springs and many carved inscriptions and signs. Most probably in far prechristian times Paiented Stone was a paran shrine.
In Bukovets lives the talented folklore musician M.Tafyichuk who not only makes Hutsul trembitas and flutes, but also created an ensemble of family members that plays authentic melodies on ancient musical instruments.
This village is one of the largest in Hutsulia and it has many distanced outskirts.. Here lived the known local philosopher Foka Shumyeyiv, a rich highland craftsman. About him wrote the Polish writer Vinzenz in his tetralogy “On the highland meadow”. In Upper Yaseniv lives a talented craftsman for the Hutsulian drimba and a folks doctor M. Netchay. He formed an ensemble of drimba-players and performed on many stages of the Ukrainian capital and in other cities. In Upper Yaseniv the is an annual Feast day.
It lies in the Pokuttya-Bukovina part of the Ukrainian Carpathians, where the Black and White Cheremosh rivers flow together. Through the village goes the roadway to Chernivtsi, Kuty and to the Romanian border and the the streams that are the source of the White Cheremosh. In the village there is an underground stone room, in which were kept in chains captive members of Oleksa Dovbush. From here they were transferred in prisons in Kuty and Kolomyya. About their unsurrendable spirit wrote I.Franko, H.Chotkevych and M.Lomatsky.
It is the smallest village in the region of Verkhovyna and it lies in the lower part of the route of the Cheremosh river. In the village of Barvinka, which belongs to the the village council of Khorotsevo, a metallic bridge is erected over the Chermosh river. This bridge connects the region of Verkhovyna with the region of Chernivtsi.
The village of Kryvorivnya has a rich historical-cultural heritage. Here there are: the Kryvorivnyan secondary-school I-III in the name of M.Hrushevsky, the House of the People, the Literarary-memorial Museum of Ivan Franko, the Museum with the estate of Mychaylo Hrushevsky and the Museum – Haus of the Citizen – the last two are subordinated to the Regional Museum of Art in Ivano-Frankivsk. A real decoration of the village is the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (built in 1719) and the Bell-Tower, which have the status of monuments of the national history and culture of Ukraine. Apart from these educational and historical-cultural buildings, the village has a long list of valuable objects of architecture and nature, that should obtain the memorial status as local, general or all-Ukrainian monuments of history, culture or nature. To the valuable objects of the village belong at least two dozen architectural buildings, historical places and natural wonders, which are organically connected with the village s past. Let us display a short list of the basic eminent places in Kryvorivnya:
- a building purchased by priests of the Burachynsky-Volyansky dynasty, where more than once dwelled Yakiv Holovatsky, Lesya Ukrainka and many other known Ukrainian representatives of science, literature
- a memorial sign on they spot where in 1745 the quartered body of Oleksa Dovbush was displayed, a memorial chapel and graves in the village cemetery;
- a chapel along the main street which was erected with the abolishmant of forced-labour in 1848 in Galicia, furthermore modern chapels of the Holy Mary in the centre of the village and to St.Seraphim of Sarov in the outskirt Berezovo.
In 2006 Ukraine will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the eminent Ukrainian poet and writer I.Franko and the 140th anniversary of the Ukrainian scholar and statesman M. Hrushevsky, whose life and creativity is connected with historic past of village of Kryvorivnya. In this connection the section of “Hutsulia” NDIU proposes that Kryvorivnya should be honored the status “Historic village of Ukraine”. Indeed the laws of Ukraine provide no paragraph about “Historic villages of Ukraine”. But a pertinent status can be initiated by the Ministry of Ukraine for Culture and Art”. Such a proposal aims to give an example of practical conservation of historic-cultural and natural monuments of a village and demonstrate a good example for imitation by many other distinguished villages in Ukraine.
The village of Iltsi lies on the crossroad of two road-routes to Trancarpathia and Romania. Here until 1939 there was the largest ethnographic and cultural museum of Hutsulia in the Ukrainian Carpathians A two-stored brick building was dismantled and a unique museum collection of exponents was transported to a museum of similar name in Ivano-Frankivsk. In the village, there is one of the oldest churches in the region of Verkhovyna – the church of the Holy Trinity, which was painted by a known Ukrainian artist Y. Pstrak. Here served as a priest S.Vytyvtsky who occupied himself with the study of Hutsuls. In 1863 he published his etnographical monograph “A historical review of Hutsuls”.
In Iltsi was born I. Kyrylyuk (Havyts), a talanted violinist and a national composer. With his Hutsul ensemble he performed in Vienna. Another person who was born in Iltsi was Y. Hulyuk, author of book of documentary essays “Zhabye”: It was published in 2004 in the publishing house “Hutsulia” 60 years after the manuscript was written.
The region of Verkhovyna is interesting due to its central geographical position among the Hutsuls. It has preserved as such the material and spiritual cultural heritage at best. Three regions mark the Hutsul character and identity: the district of Verkhovyna in the region of Ivano-Frankivsk, the district of Putyl in the region of Chernivtsi and the district of Rakhiv in the region of Transcarpathia.
They have generally a similar etnocultural and historical heritage, although each district has its own local variations. Such an irreplaceable unity of the Hutsuls and their variability can display the unity of Ukraine, inasmuch as each region has its particular identity, but uniquely a general unity.