Uzhhorod — the city where the sun rises
Excursions across Transcarpatia
Uzhhorod — history, architecture, festivals "Sakura Fest", wine and honey "Sunny drink"
Where the mountains and valleys, where the rapid river Uzh flows and it flows at an altitude of about 130 meters above the sea level, somewhat magical and fabulous city is situated, regional and historical center of Transcarpatia – Uzhhorod. Its modern name comes from the river on the banks of which it is situated. According to Hungarian historical chronicles it known that the city had previously referred as to Ungvar («Ung» -Uzh and «var» translates as a castle). This city is extremely diverse and unique as created by many different eras, styles and cultures. That is why every visit to it is always a mystery to tourists.
The first mention of the city occurs at the end of IX century. And in few decades when Transcarpatia was a part of Kievan Rus it was known as the residence of the Great Prince Laborets. Later this land became a part of the Kingdom of Hungary and in the middle of ХІІІ century, as many other Ukrainian cities, was captured and destroyed by Mongol and Tatars. Then peasant alone restored it but the Hungarian king gave Uzhhorod to Italian counts Drugeths who ruled it more than 360 years. After that the city is under the rule of Austria, where began the national liberation struggle against Austrian government led by the Prince Ferenz Rakoczi II and lasted eight long years. Then the city was under protection of Hungary, Czechoslovakia… And only during the Second World War was under control of the Soviet Union. However, despite numerous wars, domination and oppression, Uzhhorod constantly developed, increased and trade relations established rapidly with foreign countries, fairs were organized every year where merchants came from everywhere. Gradually the city turned into a powerful cultural center of Transcarpatia region where opened schools, seminars, libraries and the printing. Today the city is bond to affect its diversity and sophistication, because each era has left in it memory traces of history. But the biggest proud of Uzhhorod is the unique alley of rare sakurs (cherries) planted on the both sides of the river Uzh. It is the longest and the most amazing alley in Europe with more than thousand Japanese cherries trees with soft pink blossom at the end of late April and in early May turned the city into the fantastic garden. Delicate cherry flowers and exciting aroma attracts thousand of tourists to visit Uzhhorod in spring and to see at this Japanese miracle. These unique trees grow only in three places in the world: Japan, several U.S. states and in Uzhhorod. Moreover, in these days form April, 25 the city launched the International Festival of Music and Creativity "Sakura Fest" and the symbol of it is the romantic magician Count Sakura. He appears in all events of Uzhhorod and entertains visitors and guests of the city.
In Uzhhorod almost at the same time with "Sakura Fest" the festival wine and honey «Sunny drink»
takes place six years running. At this festival not only Transcarpatia masters demonstrate their products but representatives of other parts of Ukraine and foreign neighbors. In these days of May residents every year try to continue their alley, planting new and new seedlings, because according to Japanese wisdom to those who personally plants sakura smile good luck and good fortune.
In the country where the sun rises still believe that if you catch in the air this beautiful petal flower you will grab the tail of luck. Who first make out just blossomed flower will receive the title «Man of the Year».
By the way, sakura came to Uzhhorod as back as 1923 when Transcarpatia belonged to Czechoslovakia. Then wetlands Halahov were planted by sakuras today it is a place of Independence quay. It was thought that climate of this area was the most appropriate for sakura's planting. However, residents have its own version of the appearance of sakura. It is said that when the Japanese brought it to Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I they spent the night in Mukachevo and about the mysterious tree learned across Transcarpatia. So there were brave men who stole several seedlings from Japanese. They went to Uzhhorod selling it as fruits trees. Since then sakura is a pleasure to the eye all residents, although the fruits of it they have never seen.
Almost at the same time with sakura magnolia
begins blossom in Uzhhorod Laudon Park established in 1886 by the local school teacher Istvan Laudon. Centenary magnolia and bald cypress height of 20 m, silver apricot and many other exotic plants brought from around the world and gathered at this famous throughout Europe Park. Walking across Uzhhorod you may feel that you are in several cities or even in several countries. Downtown is like a small Prague with narrow streets and colored lights on trees and poles, towers of churches and historic buildings. In few minutes you may be transported into a tiny Tokyo with administrative tall buildings and wide avenues
. The next is the quay with benches and romantic corners where in one place you can hear the sound of a rapid mountain stream broken on the rocks and in other to see calm like a mirror frozen water stretch.
Two banks of the river are combined so called Old and New Cities by the most famous and ancient bridges of Uzhhorod - Stone footbridge. Through this bridge you can from the Theater Square on the right bank to get to Petefi Square on the left bank. Here residents often walk in pairs, feed trout which live only in ponds with clean water, so it is listed to the Red Book. One of the main attractions is the ancient Uzhhorod Castle.
It rises in the east of the city and visible from almost all of its parts.
A unique monument of ancient architecture of XII century is Gorianska Rotunda of St. Ann. The temple which has a hexagon shape and walls thickness up to two and a half meters, the chapel was fortified castle. Its walls are decorated by frescoes of XIV century – the work of Italian artists of Gotto's art school. There are no analogues in Ukraine and in the world as to architectural parameters. There are only two similar rotundas in Hungary.
Of particular interest is the building of "zhypny house", - Uzhhorod City Hall built in the late Baroque style. Over 30 years it is the home Transcarpatia Regional Art Museum after J. Bokshai and attracts attention of passerby's by its grandeur and «height» as well as the bishop, Uzhhorod Castle and Gorianska Rotunda. When the foundation was laid is not known, because all the documents of the city of XVIII-XIX centuries kept in small box and handed down from one house to another.
Another attraction is Uzhhorod Commercial Center Korzo. Translated from Italian it means «street for walks». Banks, cafes and shops are almost main buildings on it. It is central and one of the most populous and ancient streets which well preserved its historical buildings. Here, unlike other streets of the city, there are no green, narrow road on both sides built up old two-and three-storey buildings mostly decorated with modeling. It is a favorite meeting place for locals – Cross, that is intersection of Korzo and Voloshyn Streets. Here you can sit on the terrace of a cozy coffee shop or comfort bench which turned this part of Ukrainian city into a piece of Europe.
Current Uzhhorod is the city of unusual architectural ensembles, unique historical monuments, wine-making, economic and tourist center not only of Transcarpatia but the whole Ukraine. It has its own feature, character and peculiarities.
Zakarpattia, Uzhhorod, 2013 — excursions across Zakarpattia