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Rapids on the Prut River
Yaremche is one of the most popular destinations in the Ukrainian Carpathians. Tourists are attracted here by the peculiar Carpathian architecture, the waterfall/rapids on the Prut River and the Dovbush rock. The town is conveniently located in the very middle of the Carpathian region, and is a perfect jumping off point for visiting other places of interest.
Yaremche is best accessible by train from Ivano-Frankivsk. Though Ivano-Frankivsk has an international airport, it is relatively small and only has flights to Kiev, Moscow, and Lviv. Passengers may have more options available and reduced or cheap flights when flying to Lviv. From Lviv, you may take a train or fly to Ivano-Frankivsk.
‘Yaremche’ cottage, view from the side
The ‘Yaremche’ cottage is situated 50 m away from the town center, the same distance from the railway station, and 10 m from the Prut River. The mountain cliffs are a stone’s throw away, on the other side of the river.
The visitors are offered comfortable living conditions (see the Yaremche Picture Gallery), free parking space, and a number of additional services, including excursions in the region (please see below).
The price of breakfast is included in the price of accommodation. Most of the time visitors have their midday meals in one of the numerous local restaurants or cafes, and order dinner/supper from the hosts for a reasonable fee.
‘Yaremche’ cottage, the front view
People staying at the ‘Yaremche’ cottage are offered a number of interesting trips. The owner of the cottage provides means of transportation and can be used as a guide.
1. A trip to Manyavsky Skyt (Monastery) and the Manyavsky waterfalls. Although the date of the monastery’s foundation is 1611, the first hermitage (skyt) is said to have appeared here in 1241. Tourists can visit such places of pilgrimage as ‘The Blessed Stone’, the Underground Church of Archangel Myhayil, and the St. Boris and Glib Church.
2. A one-day or two-days tour of the region (Yaremche – Vorokhta – Verkhovyna – Kryvorivnya – Kolomyia – Kosiv – Yaremche)
- Verkhovyna (Zhab’ye) is a town located on the Cheremosh River, a tributary of the Prut. Here you will have a chance to visit a private museum of the Hutsul household goods and musical instruments owned by Roman Kumlyk, musician and patriot of Hutsulshchyna.
- In the village of Kryvorivnya tourists are attracted by the Ivan Franko museum, the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God (18th century), and the ancient Ukrainian and Polish cemetery adjacent to the Church. You can also visit Hutsulska hrahzda ( a typical Carpathian farmstead of the XIV-XIX centuries ), where Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors was filmed.
- Kolomyia is the center of the local crafts. The town boasts two museums - the Museum of Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg) and the Museum of Hutsul and Pokuttya Folk Art.
Museum of Pysanka in Kolomyia
- Kosiv is the center of Hutsul handicrafts (wood carving, weaving, ceramics and embroidery). At the famous Kosiv market you can buy Hutsul pottery, lizhnyky, postoly, gerdany, local souvenirs made of wood, embroidered shirts and the like.
3. A trip to Vorokhta and/or Bukovel
- Vorohta is a town surrounded by the Carpathian national nature parks and biosphere reserves on all sides. A chairlift ride will take you high up in the mountains from where you can see Chornohora (the highest mountain range in the Eastern Carpathians), including Hoverla (2062 m), Pip Ivan (2022 m), and Petros (2020 m).
In Vorohta you can also see a wooden Hutsul church of the 17th century which was built without a single nail. Distance from Yaremche: 30 km.
Pip Ivan Mountain Peak
- Bukovel is the fastest growing ski resort in Europe, with 50 km of runs (some of which are floodlit) and 14 ski lifts. By 2008-09 Bukovel is supposed to have 278 km of runs and 35 lifts, which will make it one of the 20 largest ski resorts in the world. A high-speed chair lift will take you 1370 m up to the very top of the mountain, from where you will enjoy beautiful views of the neighboring peaks, including Hoverla. Distance from Yaremche: 33 km.
4. A trip to the salt lakes near Rakhiv and the geographical center of Europe.
- Rakhiv is a small town in the Trascarpathian oblast (province) of Ukraine with mixed Ukrainian, Hungarian and Romanian population. It is the highest town in Ukraine with the elevation differences in the town of up to 500 m (430-820 m above the sea level.).
- The geographical center of Europe – as calculated by geographers from the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1887 – is claimed to be in the village of Diloveh on the Tysa River, not far from the town of Rakhiv. A corresponding historical marker and an obelisk were set up in what is presently Ukraine, several hundred meters from the Romanian border.
In cooperation with other local people the owner of the cottage can arrange special events for you like:
- A trip to polonyna, where you can experience the lifestyle of vivchary, taste brynza, listen to the sound of trembita and drymba, and enjoy the inimitable beauty of the Carpathian Mountains.
- A trip to Hoverla, the highest mountain in the East Carpathians ( 2062 m) with breathtaking views of the neighboring mountain peaks.
- A visit to homes and studios of the local potters, where you can watch them work at the wheel and fire their kilns. You can also buy traditional Carpathian ceramics directly from the Hutsul craftsmen.
- A visit to the local art galleries and private art collections (folk costumes, paintings, carvings, pottery, musical instruments, and the like), which are sometimes richer in artifacts than the local official galleries are.
- A visit to the private fisheries, where you can try to catch trout and cook it on the fire, etc.
A potter at the wheel
In January tourists can see Christmas celebrated the Hutsul way, where traditional Christian ceremonies are combined with ancient pagan rituals preserved in the mountains from primordial times. The ‘real Hutsul Carol’ includes traditional carols, dances, and food.
In winter time you also have a chance to enjoy alpine skiing both in Yaremche, and on the mountain slopes of Drahobrat and Bukovel.
Banosh – traditional Hutsul dish (maize porridge with brynza cooked on fire)
Brynza – a type of brined curd cheese
Drymba – a small musical instrument played by mouth and fingers
Gerdan – a necklace made of beads
Hutsul – a native inhabitant of the Carpathian region
Hutsulshchyna – part of the Carpathian Mountains where the Hutsul people live
Lizhnyk – a thick warm blanket made of sheep wool which is also used as a bed cover
Polonyna – an alpine meadow where sheep are taken for grazing during the warm season
Postoly – home-made shoes made of pig skin or ox hide with several shiny buckles
Pysanka – Ukrainian Easter egg
Trembita – a very long alpine horn made of wood and bark, which is used in the mountains to announce important news like births, funerals and weddings
Vivchar – a shepherd.
All photos are the original work of
Jonathan Halcovage and Oleksandr Olesnevych