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Carpathians

The Carpathian Mountains, or short Carpathians, are one of the major tourist draws of Ukraine, attracting visitors at all times of the year. The region offers many outdoor opportunities including ski areas and is an important habitat for a lot of species as well.

The Carpathians in total are a mountain range that stretches over parts of Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. The range has a total length of about 1700 kilometers and is forested in most areas, including many of the peaks which can reach altitudes of 2600 meters in a number of places.

Nesamovyte Lake

In the Beskids, the Ukrainian section of the Carpathians, the highest mountain - and the highest in the entire country - is Mount Hoverla near the Romanian border. Hoverla is 2061 meters high and the peak can be easily climbed via a trail that begins in the small town of Vorokhta, a place that is a popular travel destination thanks to it being home to a ski resort.The town features a number of ski lifts as well as ski-jumping ramps and has several accommodation options available.

In the nearby city of Yaremche, the headquarters of the Carpathian National Park and its visitor center are located. The visitor center has an exhibition on the ecological, historic and religious significance of the region and informs travelers about attractions and things to do. The preserve was set up as the country’s first Carpathiansnational park in 1980 and covers some 515 square kilometers in the highest section of the Ukrainian Carpathians. The area has vast forest areas, primarily in the form of primeval beech forests; green meadows and lakes. There are about 50 maintained trails that will lead visitors to the different landscapes of the park and to the Zhenetskyi Huk waterfall, a major tourist attraction where the water of the Zhenets rivers falls 15 meters deep.

Further south from Yaremche, the small city of Rakhiv with a population of about 15,000 is Ukraine’s highest city and also claims to be the geographical center of Europe, although this is disputed by a number of other places. Since 1992, Rakhiv is home to the headquarters of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, which contains both protected areas and sections available for use by visitors. The reserve is home to many notable plant species as well as to a lot of animal species, some of which are endangered.

In the extended area around the Ukrainian section of the Carpathian Mountains in the western part of the country, several more notable cities are located. These include Chernivtsi, nicknamed “Little Vienna” because of the numerous examples of architectural style used in the Austro-Hungarian Empire scattered across the city. Chernivtsi has a population of about 260,000 and is thus a little larger than Ivano-Frankivsk with 226,000 residents, located 130 kilometers northwest. Ivano-Frankivsk shares the historic heritage of most other places in the region, bringing together a mixture of Ukrainian, Polish, Austrian and Soviet influences. At the border to Slovakia, the city of Uzhhorod is located at the banks of the Uzh river. This historic city is the center of a region that is called Carpathian Ruthenia or Transcarpathia and has a strong historic connection to neighboring Hungary. Not far from there, the town of Mukacheve has a medieval castle built on a hill and a monastery worth seeing.

As the regions of Carpathia and Transcarpathia are traditionally marked by the forest and lumber industry, there are a few notable wooden churches to be found in the area. Other important products of the region include wines as well as agricultural products such as potatoes and sunflower seeds.       

 

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