A long Way through the Carpathians

The first day of our new trip. Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I left Lviv in the morning. We had a first stop in Drohobych, continued via Boryslav and Skhidnytsia, and finally arrived in Uzhhorod shortly before sundown. We found a beautiful church, two beit midrash (Jewish study houses) and one of the last surviving wooden synagogues of Ukraine.

It was foggy when we started in Lviv in the morning. On our way to Transcapathia we stopped in Drohobych – once, together with neighboring Boryslav the heart of the Galician oil belt. Both towns made Austria-Hungary the third largest oil exporter in the world, but at least in Boryslav not much is visible of the former glory. To a big extent the oil industry was in Jewish hands – from the simple workers to the management. Of Jewish Boryslav close to nothing survived. At least we were able to identify two former beit midrash – Jewish study houses.

Drohobych is home of much older historical buildings. A highlight is the wooden church of St. George, a beautiful example of Ukrainian wood architecture from the 17th century. We had a short stop – in particular because of the magnificent wall paintings in the church.

Another fine example of wood architecture is in Skhidnytsia, a popular spa in the mountains. Here one of the last surviving wooden synagogues of Ukraine is located – now a Christian church. Unfortunately, it is also an example for the lack of experienced restaurators. The facade has been covered with a layer of prefabricated wood panels. It may protect the historical substance for a while but is no sustainable preservation.

From then on it took us hours to cross the Carpathians to finally reach Uzhhorod in Transcarpathia. The roads belong to the worst we have seen so far in Ukraine but the landscape is of unique beauty and the villages are picturesque. We arrived shortly before sundown, made our way to the Jewish cemetery but decided to return to it tomorrow. The light was already to bad to take pictures.

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4 thoughts on “A long Way through the Carpathians

  1. This World is not vanished, it is blossoming and still routed to the fascunating Jewish history in this Region. More of that the link to this great history will never be dried off.

  2. We’re looking at visiting Drohobych, Boryslav and Styji this summer(my husband’s ancestors lived there til the early 1900s) and want to visit the Choral Synagogue. Is it open to the public or do we need to hire a guide? Do you have contact info for the synagogue? I have been unable to find anything online.

    Your blog is quite inspiring. Thanks!

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