The Carpathian Mountains. Vacations in the Carpathians. Vacations in Transcarpathia
The Carpathians which are the oldest mountains in Europe are a region with peculiar cultural features. Customers can go to the Carpathian Mountains for a holiday all year round.
The most popular ski resorts named Slavskoye, Bukovel’, Dragobrat, Krasiya have slopes of varying degree of difficulty including the "black" ones. A ski season in the Carpathians lasts from December to March.
In summertime the Carpathians are visited by tourists who prefer either «green» tourism including horseback riding, swimming in the mountainous rivers, etc. or extreme forms of tourism such as hiking and mountain biking, jeep trips and paragliding.
The Carpathians are also an ideal place both for vacation as well as healing because of numerous mineral springs. The most famous Carpathian health resorts are Svalyava, Polyana, Sinyak.
The Carpathians welcome tourists all year round providing them both with downhill skiing as well as summer activities. The Carpathians are the future of Ukrainian tourism because of the clean air, mineral springs and nearby reserves as well as up-to-date ski resorts and an infrastructure providing a comfortable stay. The Carpathians are an ideal place for those who prefer leisure activities. Imagine yourself enjoying a variety of extreme sports activities combined with economical rates in the beauty of a natural landscape.
Most of the main Carpathian rivers are fit for rafting, still they are not of high degree of difficulty. The mountains are not too high, but earthquake-resistant and well explored. Large snow areas are available for tourists five months a year. There are also many ski runs in the Carpathians, and the location of even ordinary health resorts makes it possible to ski and snowboard. The optimal surroundings prevent you from receiving undesirable side effects when doing sports for health or just recreation.
Your decision to spend a holiday in the Carpathians to explore a variety of sports tourism enables you to practice the following leisure activities: rock climbing (mainly in the area of mount Goverla because all two-thousand-meter peaks of the Ukrainian Carpathians are located there and mountaineering areas are well explored);
rafting (on almost all large rivers such as Prut, Cheremosh, Struy, etc.);
ski sports, snowboarding (most high hill camps and resorts are available five months a year, starting from November);
hiking and biking compliment your camping life which is no surprise because of the beautiful landscape;
hunting (forests, reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are available for you);
fishing (those who consider fishing a leisure sport know nothing of it) and finally, paragliding (its values are worth reading about because in one sentence it is impossible to express what you feel while proudly floating on your own over the earth in a glider equipped with no engine and steering wheel!) You must go to the Carpathians!
Transcarpathia. Vacations in Transcarpathia.
Transcarpathia which is located in the heart of Europe straddles the border between the Carpathian Mountains and the middle Danube plain. The total area of the region occupies 12800 sq km. There are 13 districts, 10 cities, 28 towns, 561 villages in Transcarpathia. Cities of regional significance are Uzhgorod, Beregovo, Mukachevo, Khust, Chop and cities of district importance are Svalyava, Irshava, Tyachevo, Vinogradovo, Rakhov.
The nature of Transcarpathia
In terms of geography the Transcarpathian region is divided into two areas: mountains (the Carpathians) and plains (Transcarpathia lowlands). Most of the territory is mountainous. The highest mountain peak of Transcarpathia is Goverla that belongs to the Chornogora ridge, rising to the height of 2061 m. While the lowest point (101 m above sea level) is located on the other side of the region near the village of Russian Geyevtsy in the Uzhgorod district. The Tisa river plays an important role in forming the land’s surface. (It has its rise where the White Tisa and the Black Tisa join. Its total length, within the boundaries of Transcarpathia, is 223 km. It flows into the Danube near the Serbian capital Belgrade.) The Tisa river basin comprises all rivers of the region. The dividing range separates the river basin of Transcarpathia from the Carpathian rivers. The total number of rivers, streams, brooks of Transcarpathia makes 9.429, including 9.77 small streams up to 10 km in extent and 152 rivers exceeding 10 km in length (these are Rika, Tereblya, Shopurka, Teresva, Irshavka, Sinyavka, Tyachivets, Middle Rika, Kosivskaya, Bogdan, Lazeshchina, Turbat, Ozeryanka, Bertyanka, Brusturyanka, Repinka, Luzhanka, Mokryanka, Apshitsa, Great Ugol’ka, Vaskova, Tur’ya, Zhdenivka, Viznitsa, Staraya, Serne, Charonda, Tsugan’, Vilya, Turichka, Lomovanya, Pinya, Vicha, Svinka, Koropets, Suhar’, Ulychka, Yarok, Boronyava, Vil’shanka, Yablunitsa, Vil’hivchik, Verbovets, Kvasnuiy, Chehovets, Babichka, Gniloy, Volovets, Moshka etc.) as well as 4 rivers reaching over 100 km (Uzh, Latoritsa, Borzhava, Tisa).
Unlike a variety of fast-flowing rivers in mountainous areas, the total number of calm lakes of Transcarpathia makes no more than 137, only 32 of them are “constant level” lakes. The largest lake of Transcarpathia is Sinevir, which was formed 10 thousand years ago at the height of 989 meters. Its area is 7 hectares, the maximum depth totals 27 m, and the water temperature ranges from 12 to 18 degrees above zero. The lake is inhabited by rainbow, brook and lake trout. Transcarpathia lakes falls into several types:
glacial lakes: Apshinets, Maricheyka, Nesamovitoye, Brebeneskul, Breskul, Vorozheska, Gerashasskoye, Dragobratskoye Ozertso, Nizhneye, Verhneye, Malaya Gropa
dammed lakes: Solyonoye, Tereblyanskiye lakes, Sinevir
man-made lakes: Black lakes, Solotvinskiye lakes
crater lakes: Lipchans’koye, Vorochivskoye, Sineye
Transcarpathia region includes about 2000 higher plants species, of which 44 species may unfortunately go extinct soon. Forests cover an area of about 500,000 hectares (that occupies 45% of the territory of Transcarpathia). The variety of tree species is represented mostly by beeches 58%, fir trees – 31%, oaks – 7%, as well as birches, alders, hornbeams, yews, pines, ashes, maples. They usually grow in mountainous areas on brown mountain forest and mountain meadow clay soils which give way to gray-brown podzolic soils in the lowland.
Transcarpathia houses 80 species of mammals, 280 species of birds, 10 species of reptiles, 16 species of amphibians, 60 species of fish, 100 species of clams. The Carpathians are inhabited by 3/4 of all mammal species of Ukraine. Those that prevail in Transcarpathia are moles, foxes, wolves, raccoons, brown bears, badgers, martens, weasels, ermines, polecats, minks, otters, wild cats, lynxes, hares, squirrels, muskrats, wild boars, roes, Carpathian deer. The species of birds which can also be found in Transcarpathia include capercaillies, black grouses, hazel grouses, pheasants, partridges, quails, doves, pigeons, coots, corncrakes, seagulls, woodpeckers, owls, storks, thrush, woodcocks, snipes. Transcarpathia also houses such waterfowl as great crested grebes, swans, wild geese, mallards, brants, wild ducks, teals, herons, bulls. The climate of Transcarpathia is determined by the fact that the region is located in the heart of Europe. High mountain ranges protect the region from invading cold northern winds, while the humid temperate-continental climate makes temperatures low hot in summer and low cold in winter. Actually, travelers coming here from the northern countries enjoy the warmth of the South, while visitors from the southern regions get pleasure from the freshness of the North. And vice versa, tourists from the eastern countries are looking for peculiarities of the western way of life, while western tourists show interest in the eastern life-style. Maximum summer temperature averages 40 °C above zero; minimum winter temperature reaches 32 °C above zero. The least amount of rainfalls is 642 mm (in the city of Beregovo), the highest amount of rainfalls is 1411 mm (in the town of Ust’-Chernaya, theTyachevskiy district). The longest day of the year is June 22, the shortest day is December 22, and the average day duration is 8.5 hours (in winter) and 15.5 hours (in summer). The highest wind speed in our area is 40 m/s.
Treatments based on natural resources of the Carpathians
Salubrious air filled with aromas of forest and mineral springs make the Carpathians an ideal place both for vacation as well as healing.
Additional information about Transcarpathia
The oldest human settlement, found here, dates back to the early Paleolithic. By the 7th century BC there had already existed a fortified settlement in the Castle hill near the city of Uzhgorod, and in the 8–9th centuries Uzhgorod became populated by the White Croats belonging to the East Slavic tribe. In the 10–11th centuries this land was a part of Kievskaya Rus’. The White Croats often joined the princes of Kiev in waging war against the Byzantine Empire and defended the Ancient Rus' from the raids of nomadic tribes. In the 12–14th centuries there also appeared other fortified feudal fortresses of Mukachevo, Beregovo, Khust, Sevlyush (now Vinogradov). Yet, in the 11th century Hungary occupied most of the Transcarpathian land taking advantage of the internecine strife inside the Ancient Rus’. Starting from the 17th century Transcarpathia fell under the control of Austria (after 1867 it was called Austria-Hungary). A long period marked by harsh oppression of the locals began. For about ten centuries this richest land had been under the control of foreign invaders.
Transcarpathia teems with parks of historical importance. Several ancient oaks continue growing in Mezhhor’ye, Irshava, Stuzhitsa, Plavya, including a five-century plane and three-century ash in Uzhgorod. These days Transcarpathia is one of the most interesting places of Ukraine where you can spend your holiday and see unique historical and cultural sights of the region.
Ukrainian allergic hospital is considered to be the world’s largest hospital of this kind and a unique one. Treatments are based here on the use of special microclimate of salt mines and Solotvino’ karst caves. The effectiveness of treatment averages 80–86% among adults and 90–95% among children. Salt lake “Kunigunda” which lies nearby can be compared with the well-known Israel Dead Sea. You will restore your health and bring joy back into your life because of salubrious air filled with the aroma of the forest, mineral water from the Carpathian springs as well as excellent living conditions, qualified medical staff and fully equipped treatment rooms, high level of service provided by our health centers.
The valley of Narcissi in Transcarpathia
The valley of Narcissi is a unique place of Transcarpathia. It is located in the village of Kireshi which is 5 km from the town of Khust. It’s the only place in Ukraine as well as in CIS countries, which inhabits the natural thickets of the narrow-leaved Narcissi. Similar thickets, but of a smaller size, continue growing only in few places of the Alps, Romania and the Balkans. Narcissus gregarious blossoming in April–May is such a wonderful sight that you will get impressed with it for the rest of your life.
Every spring in April–May the land which lies at an altitude of 180–200 meters above sea level is covered with a green carpet. It’s studded with a lot of white wreaths of delicate flowers which are impossible to count. Such beauty can only be seen here, the scent of daffodils only adds to this unforgettable sight. Thousands of tourists come to the Carpathians to enjoy this wonderful phenomenon of nature. In the valley of Narcissi, since it is a wildlife area, it is firmly forbidden to uproot plants and the offence will incur a fine. Yet, you can easily find sneaky locals selling bunches of daffodils in the parking lot.
Silver land of the Carpathians
Our land is unique. It covers only 12.8 thousand miles of the territory, yet 4/5 of the entire valleys, mountains and foothills can be found right here. You can enjoy remarkable landscapes with the fast moving streams of the Tisa river which fall into the Danube, rogue rivers of Latoritsa, Borzhava, Uzh, Tereblya and Teresva, as well as exotic lakes, of which the most attractive one is the high-mountain lake of Sinevir, called by locals "Sea eye".
Carpathians... As for the height, the Carpathians are lower than European mountains, but they are so beautiful that they don’t yield to any of them in this respect.
The nature of Transcarpathia favors the development of health recreational activity, skiing for sport as well as leisure, the sport of hiking in various degrees of difficulty, and both environmental and agricultural trends.
Sinevir is the largest and one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the Carpathians. It is also called “Sea eye” or “Pearl of the Carpathians”. From the bird's-eye view, you can see picturesque scenery of bright blue waters amidst green forests with a small island in the middle. The lake is surrounded by ancient beeches and fir trees. Their trunks are as thick as several girths. The water of the lake is so clear that you can see the bottom. From afar, the water seems to be bright blue. The air here is incomparably fresh and light, filled with the scent of pine needles. It seems to weigh nothing, so you can breathe freely and easily. Sinevir is the largest lake in the Carpathian mountains. It is located at an altitude of 989 meters above sea level. The average depth of the lake is 10–12 meters; the maximum depth is 24 meters. The lake was formed in the post-glacial period.
People living in the surroundings of Lake Sinevir explained its formation in the
following legend. Once upon a time, many years ago, a mighty count had a daughter Sin. One day she met a shepherd Vir. They began to see each other secretly and fell in love. But the count forbade Sin to keep seeing Vir. He told his servants to kill the shepherd. They threw him off a high rock to the stones. When Sin realized, what had happened she started crying until her tears eventually created the lake. The Ukrainians can’t but create legends!
Since then, the lake has been called Sinevir. You can also see a wooden sculptural group of Sin and Vir erected on the bank of the lake. Many brides and grooms keep coming here from various Carpathian districts to celebrate their wedding day. People are said to have a happy marriage if they meet and fall in love with each other at the lake.
Shipot falls is the most beautiful waterfall in Transcarpathia. The water cascades over footbridges, which you can climb for taking a refreshing shower. The most courageous of the tourists enjoy taking photos against the swirling streams of water flowing from an altitude of 14 meters.
The waterfall is formed by the Pilipets river (also named Pleshanka) that takes its rise in the high ridges of Borzhava. Shipot falls is not the biggest waterfall of Transcarpathia, it yields to the Trufanets waterfall, which is located in the Rakhov district. However, the magic beauty of Shipot falls keeps attracting independent tourists.
If you go uphill continuing past the waterfall, you will find yourself in a place where many cults and informal movements of Ukraine and CIS countries meet. It’s a large green meadow surrounded by mountains and forests. Since 1992 it had been chosen by hippies and other members of informal social groups who get together for their annual festivals in early July. Hippies, punks, skinheads, metal heads as well as those who get bored of living an oppressive urban life and breathing smells of heated asphalt can find harmony here. Just imagine yourself living in tents, making campfires, chattering, listening to music…
Shipot falls is one of the most famous sights of the region. It draws numerous visitors who take organized tours, coming here from different hotels and resorts area. Their choice is not accidental because of the majesty of powerful falling waters, the beauty of forests as well as thickets of blueberries, emerald meadows and ever-lasting mountains that won’t leave anyone untouched.
Taking a bath in the village of Lumshory
In the village of Lumshory (Perechin district, Transcarpathian region) travelers are offered to take a bath in mineral water. They get inside a 1000-litre container that is heated on a fire. The temperature ranges from 40 to 45 degrees above zero. Taking a bath improves the functioning and heath of locomotor apparatus along with the nervous system.
The first health resort was built here in 1600. Originally people poured cold mineral water into wooden troughs and then threw hot stones that had been heated on a fire in the troughs. Then they jumped into the water. In a factory in the nearby town of Tur’i-Remety were cast two 250-litre iron vats. They served for warming up mineral water that was later poured inside the troughs.
After the First World War both of the baths were missing. Yet in 1970, one of them was found by a villager Vladimir Ap’yari in the forest near a brook. The other one is kept in the Vienna Museum.
The village of Lumshor, which is located on the bank of a mountain stream Turichka, is famous for its miraculous old baths. They are dated back to 1600 when the sulfur mineral spring was found.
Locals have long noticed the healing effects of Lumshor waters. They can give countless examples of those who returned the ability to walk and improved the functioning of their nervous system after taking sulfur baths. However, this is not the only thing that makes this place so special. What compels tourists to visit this farthest mountain area of Perechin is that they can enhance their health in the open-air at any time of the year.
Sulfur baths are located inside a three-walled covering structure, which you can get to from the courtyard and leave freely through the exit overlooking the Turichka river. Even though the distance from a changing room to the bath doesn’t exceed four meters, you must be quick (not to freeze to the wooden floor because of the frosty air!) and immediately plunge into the river. The outside temperature is 30 degrees below zero and the water temperature in the bath reaches 36,6 degrees above zero. The bath can accommodate about seven people at the same time, depending on their dimensions.
The baths are located on the banks of the Turichka river. The inventive locals built artificial barriers in the watercourse for holding back water. When it gets too hot for you, you may jump into the cold river. In an hour it’s useful to do the same, alternating between hot and cold water 3–4 times. The most preferable season for taking baths is winter time when the temperature drops to –10°C. It assists healing sciatica, rheumatism, osteochondrosis.
The mountain valley of Borzhava (Borzhava polonina)
Borzhava polonina is a mountain range located on the ridge of the Ukrainian Carpathians. It spreads between the rivers Latoritsa and Rika within the boundaries of the Transcarpathian region (Ukraine). It exceeds 50 km in length, its width reaches 34 km, and its peak rises to 1677 m (mount Stoy). The southern slope of the mountain valley is flat, elongated and dissected, while the northern one slopes abruptly towards the valley of the Ripinka river. Borzhava polonina lies adjacent to the valley of Kuk which is often considered to be a separate mountain range. It also contains a ridge of Palyenuy Grun. The distant ridge of the mountain valley of Borzhava is located at the distance of 44 km, so Borzhava is considered to be the longest mountain valley of Transcarpathia.
The mountainous ridges are leveled, only some of them have a few cone-shaped peaks:
Temnatik (1343 m),
Bol’shoy Verh (1598 m),
Zhid Magura (1505 m),
Grab (1374 m),
Guimba (1498 m) etc.
It consists of flysch (sandstones prevail in layers). The slopes are dissected by a network of tributaries of the rivers Borzhava, Latoritsa and Rika. At the height of 1200–1450 m there is a strip of beech forests, and even higher are mountain valleys. A state wildlife area of Rososhnuy occupies the slopes of mount Stoy. The mountain valley of Borzhava used to be a distant sheep pasture, but nowadays it is mainly used for tourism purposes.