From Ternopil to Chortkiv

Our heritage trip through eastern Galicia continues. The rain stoped at night. Fog followed a sunny morning and turned the landscape into a mystic place while we traveled further south. En route were Skalat, Terebovlia, Strusiv and Yazlovets – all of these towns are located in Ternopil oblast of Ukraine.

Originally, I wanted to publish this post last night. But the gods of the internet had no mercy with me – the connection our hotel in Chortkiv offered was so bad, I was not able to do it. At least you can read now what happened yesterday.

Our little group – Marla, Jay, Vasyl, Iryna, Anna and I – headed further south. Traveling and walking in the mist is always a special experience. We got up early today to visit Skalat. I had been there earlier in the year. Then, it was spring; now the roades were iced. The ruin of the synagogue hung in a mystic fog. We went on to the territory of the former Jewish cemetery – now a soccer field. It took us a while to locate a mass grave site out of town. For two ours we made our way through frozen fields to find the place – and finally succeded.

It was due to our fellow travelers Iryna and Anna that we were able to find the Jewish neighbourhood in the town of Terebovlia. A former synagogue and beit midrash are still preserved. Another building is controversial. While the Center of Jewish Arts at the University of Jerusalem believes it was a synagogue, local historins say it was a kind of Polish club.

Strusiv synagogue is one of the oldest and most imposing in Galicia. Build from stones and bricks the synagogue is now abandoned – with an uncertain future.

Yazlovets was the surprise of the day. It is a picturesque small town with an old castle, a huge monastery, an old Catholic church and a Jewish cemetery – all situated in a scenic landscape. Thank you fellow travelers Iryna and Anna for recommending this place!

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