Mukacheve is the second largest city in Zakarpatska oblast after Uzhgorod, with its history and originality not being inferior to the latter. The city that for centuries has been a melting pot for people of different nationalities and cultures (as it stood at the crossroads of European trade routes), as a result has got its own bright image. The documentary history of Mukacheve starts from the IX century, but in the city outskirts archaeologists have found Celtic Iron Center which is the second largest in Europe! Therefore, the history of the city on the Latorica began long before records were created. It has a wonderful, spotlessly clean city center and a castle on a nearby hill that dates from as early as the IX century. If you're visiting Transcarpathia, Mukacheve is an absolute must!
Mukachevo lies between Volcanic Carpathians and Zakarpatska Lowland, on the banks of Latorica river. As a long time ago Mukachevo stood at the crossroads of international routes: the railways Moscow-Kyiv-Budapest-Belgrade-Rome and Moscow-Kyiv-Bratislava-Prague-Vienna and highways Kyiv-Prague and Kyiv-Budapest-Vienna lie across the city.
There are 3 versions of the Mukachevo name origin: the word "мука" -torment (as people suffered while constructing the castle "Palanok"- the main attraction of the city), the word "мука" - flour(there was a huge mill on the Latorica river), the words "земля пана Мункачи" - the land of Mr. Munkachy (the Hungarian version of the city name).
The city center
A cosy paved boulevard is the centerpiece of the pedestrian triangle tourist zone in the city center. The dominant feature is the City Hall built in Art Nouveau style (1906). On its tower the clock with a complex mechanism is set. On the other side you can see the cathedral church of St. Martin who is the patron saint of the city. Nearby the Gothic chapel of St. Joseph (XVI cent.) stands, in which the medieval paintings are preserved. A monument to the Saints Cyril and Methodius (creators of the Slavic alphabet and the Slavonic language) is erected on the square. This is a traditional place for public events, including annual wine festival "Chervene vyno."
Mukacheve’s highlight is the hilltop Palanok Castle. Palanok Castle is one of six most preserved castles in Europe. The castle is located on a hill ( Zamkova or Castle Mount) which stands at a height of 68 meters. Mukachevsky Castle is one of the brightest attractions and the pride of this region. It has seen many occupants come and go, creating many legends and fascinating tales along the way. The history of the magnificent castle dates back to the 14th century.
The main cause of the building of the castle was the profitable and strategic position. It had to be a fortress which could stand frequent raids from the Normans. The interesting fact in its history is that Palanok castle had never been captured.
It covers an impressive area of some 14,000 square meters. There are 130 spacious rooms inside, each with their own unique use, it also has underground passages that connect all the rooms in the mysterious castle.
During its long history the Mukacheve Palanok Castle has been a home, a fortress, a prison, a headquarters during the war, barracks and an agricultural college. And nowadays it serves as a museum. It is a real time capsule which has many mysterious and intriguing stories to tell its visitors.
The monastery of St. Nicholas
Mukacheve Orthodox monastery of St. Nicholas is a monument of temple building art. It is one of the oldest monasteries and certainly the most important religious and cultural centers in Subcarpathian Rus. The monastery was built on a hill called Chernecha hora, (Monk’s Hill). According to the folk legends monks (chentsi - hence the name of the mountain) settled here in the XI century . They came here together with Anastasia, the daughter of Kiev Prince Yaroslav the Wise, the wife of the Hungarian King Andrew I.
The history of the monastery dates back to the second half of the XIV century and is associated with the name of Prince Theodore Koryatovich. The story says that one day the prince Theodore Koryatovich was attacked by a predator while hunting. Prince, fearing mortal danger, promised to build a monastery on this place if he kept alive, and the animal did not touch him.
The grateful prince kept his promise and built a wooden monastery so that the monks could resettle there from the cave religious retreat.
A journal was being maintained at the monastery for many years, these historic records have informed generations of the ancient history of Transcarpathia. Here at the end of XVIII century I.Brazilovych wrote his "Краткая заметка" ( а short note) telling about monastery founding by Theodore Koryatovich .
In the XVII century a library started its working in the monastery. Many valuable Old Church Slavonic books published in Ostrog, Kiev, Lviv, Chernihiv and other cities were collected here. Besides it, some rare written records including "Transcarpathian Gospel" (1401), "The Bible" by Ivan Fedorov (1581) were kept in the library.
The city hall building
The city hall building has been serving according its intended purpose for more than 100 years. The city council works right here. The building was designed by the Budapest architect Babula Junior. During a stone laying ceremony a letter was put in the main clock tower footing. The letter contained city information, particularly it was reported that the city population was 14. 416 people, the number of houses was 1.553.
The main doorway has the chimes set by the master Shovinskiy. Every 15 minutes a hammer strikes a smaller bell beating the quarter of an hour. Strikes on a large bell inform about the hours. In such a manner people could know the time within earshot of the bells.
You can also visit village Karpaty (Beregvar) between Mukacheve and Svaliava cities and see its well-preserved hunting castle Shenborn. Now it serves as a resort "Carpathians”
Resorts "Carpathians" and " Syniak" are located on the territory of Mukacheve district . Sanatoriums "Carpathians" and "Carpathians Perlyna " belong to the Carpathians resort , sanatoriums "Syniak" "Solianye mlaki" are placed on the territory of Syniak resort. Near Mukacheve there is a hill Krasnaia Gorka (Red Hill). It is the northernmost area in the world where they grow tea!
Come to Mukacheve and see its beautiful castles, churches and festivals, stay in its health resorts meet its friendly and hospitable people and you’ll never regret it! This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting pages of Zakarpattia!